Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was awarded France's top cultural honour during a ceremony in his native India on Tuesday (01Jul14).
The actor was presented with the Legion of Honour medal by Laurent Fabius, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai to recognise his contribution to promoting cultural diversity across the world.
The moment was extra poignant for the star, as the day would have marked his late mother's birthday.
He said at the ceremony, "It's my mother's birthday. If she was alive, apart from being extremely old, she would have been extremely happy that her son has got the highest and the most prestigious honour in the world... so thank you on behalf of my mother."
He added, "I thank the President of France Mr. Francois Hollande and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France, Mr. Laurent Fabius, for finding me fitting for this honour... This honour has further motivated me to take Indian Cinema to the next level of acceptance, love and glory. And thank you France for being so loving and appreciative of Indian films, it's extremely encouraging."
The '12 Years A Slave' director will receive the accolade at the London Film Festival in October.
Critics from all over the world were asked to name the best movie of the past 16 years.