The French Minister for Foreign Affairs & International Development H.E. Mr. Laurent Fabius went out of his way and laid a red carpet for Shahrukh Khan, one of the Khans who rules Bollywood today. The French Minister invited SRK to shoot his next film in France. He also suggested the possible locations, from famed Paris streets and monuments, to his own office, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Paris, and Normandy, the region he comes from. He said that his government would offer special benefits to Indian filmmakers if they shot their films in France.
Mr. Laurent Fabius had come to Mumbai, after having met the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi in Delhi, to confer on Shahrukh Khan his nation’s civilian honor Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. Chevalier (Knight). It’s the start-up rank in the Légion d’Honneur, the highest civilian awards of France, and is conferred for ‘minimum 20 years of public service or 25 years of professional activity’.
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Departing from the usual protocol Mr. Fabius spoke in English for the convenience of the invitees and spelt out the long list of SRK’s achievements as a theatre artiste, actor, producer, social worker, and also as a writer. It was SRK who stole the lime light with his wit and humor with his usual irreverent touch. He thanked the Minister and spoke about his films that were shot in France and his visits there, particularly his participation in the Cannes Film Festival 2002 with his film DEVDAS. The film was part of the official selection and was screened ‘out of competition’. SRK also mentioned that it was his late mother’s birthday (1st July) and she must be feeling good about him being conferred such a prestigious honor of the world.
(Rajesh Kumar Singh is Editorial Consultant for Festivals and Markets for BollywoodTrade.com. He is a filmmaker, critic and market analyst)