French Knight of the National Order of Merit to International filmmaker Ashok Amritraj

Chevalier Award, Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), has been conferred on International filmmaker Ashok Amritraj – the most famous Indian producer in Hollywood – Hyde Park Entertainment founder, by the French government in recognition of his contribution to the world of cinema and “Significant contribution to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance”. The Knight of the Order of Arts and of Letters (Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) medal was presented to Amritraj at a ceremony presided over by the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian and France’s ambassador to India, Alexandre Ziegler, in Mumbai on Friday 14 December 2018.

Le Drian said, “What is extremely precious in our eyes is your commitment to bringing together the Indian and French film industries.”

Ziegler said, “I am delighted that Ashok Amritraj’s contribution towards strengthening collaborations between France and India in the domain of cinema has been honoured.”

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was honoured in 2012 for her contribution in Indian and British cinema.

The French government distinction Chevalier des l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) is conferred on “persons who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the field of art, culture and literature or for their contribution to the influence of arts in France and throughout the world.”

Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) is an Order of France, established on 2 May 1957 by the Minister of Culture, and its supplementary status to the Ordre national du Merite was confirmed by President Charlesde Gaulle in 1963. Its purpose is the recognition of significant contributions to the arts, literature, or the propagation of these fields. Its origin is attributed to the Order of Saint-Michel (established 1 August 1469) as acknowledged by French government sources.

The Order National Du Merite (The Order of Merit) is part of France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor, and is awarded “to recognize eminent artists as well as people who have contributed significantly, to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world”.

  • Ashok Amritraj, resident of Nungambakkam, enjoyed a successful professional tennis career prior to establishing Hyde Park in 1999.
  • Amritraj, former CEO of National Geographic Films was lauded for his contribution to the world of cinema and Indo-French film industry and has produced over 100 movies in the span of his 30 year career.
  • Amritraj has been the producer of Hollywood films such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance with Nicholas Cage and 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield.
  • Amritraj was recognized in 2016 by the United Nations for his role as a committed agent of change in his native country. Amritraj was appointed by U.N. India as its first Goodwill Ambassador for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty and hunger alleviation, improvements in water and sanitation, and promoting gender equality.

Ashok Amritraj said, “I am humbled and privileged to receive this honor. I would like to thank the government of France for the Order National Du Merite and for recognizing my journey in the world of cinema”. “This award is a tribute to the growing cooperation between the film industries of France and India, an idea whose time has come.”

The French Minister also officiated over the closing ceremony of the second round of Indo-French professional meetings for the Film and Television Industry. He announced the institution of a special fund to encourage future Indo-French co-productions and exchanges in the film industry. Making a call for more collaboration between the film industries of both countries, Le Drian added, “I would like to suggest a few avenues to boost our collaboration and ensure that we have the requisite resources for meeting our ambitions. This fund will enable French and Indian scriptwriters to produce four-handed screenplays.”

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