By Utpal Borpujari
Shaji N Karun, the creator of cinematic classics like Piravi, Swaham and Vanaprashtham, has been chosen for the Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), one of the highest awards of France in the field of art and culture.
Karun, whose latest film Kutty Srank is part of the Indian Panorama at the ongoing 40th Internatonal Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, is being given the award in recognition of his contribution to India’s cultural life and to the development of Indo-French cooperation in the field of art.
Earlier Indian recipients of this honour include actor Shah Rukh Khan and Indologist Alka Pande.
The announcement comes days after Lata Mangeshkar was chosen for the Officier de la Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest cultural award.
French Ambassador to India Jérôme Bonnafont will confer the award on Karun at an investiture ceremony on Friday in the capital alongside a French Film Festival celebrating “50 years of New Wave Cinema”.
Karun, who had earlier won the Sir Charlie Chaplin Award of the UK, is the last director to have a film in the competition section of the Cannes Film Festival, where Swaham sparkled way back in 1994.
Incidentally, the French film festival will be inaugurated by Serge Toubiana, Director General of Cinémathèque Française, with a screening of the restored version of Jean-Luc Godard classic Pierrot le fou.
Apart from Delhi, the festival of eight French New Wave masterpieces, organised by the Embassy of France in India, Culturesfrance and the Cinémathèque Française, will travel to Mumbai, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata