Remembering Indian Legends honoured by France

Since the very first motion picture of factory workers by the Lumiere brothers, cinema has provided a lens to capture everyday life and to reimagine it. Cineastes and storytellers hold the power to show us what life is and what it could be; they are changemakers of the subtlest and yet the highest degree.

It has been France's longtime honour to be engaged with many such legends that have presented India's social reality on the silver screen. In 1987, then President of France Francois Mitterand had come to India to honour the respected late Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray with the title of Commandeur of Legion d'Honneur for his lifetime achievements in depicting the social realities in India. 

30 years later, it is with the very same respect with which France is honouring one of his leading actors who has worked in 14 of Ray's films including the famous Apu's trilogy. Soumitra Chatterjee, whom France has honoured in Kolkata with the title of Commandeur of Legion d'Honneur, one of France's highest civilian awards, has been an icon of Bengali, Indian, and indeed of world cinema. 

Bonjour India has provided the occasion for France and India to once again hold each other in mutual regard. This occasion provides an opportunity to once again reflect the many icons of whom we have admired alongside Soumitra Chatterjee.

It is with the greatest respect that we celebrate some of these legends in this retrospective gallery: Durga Charan Rakshit, the first recipient of Legion d'Honneur, along with cineastes who have received honors from France, including Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das, Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.