‘The presentation of the honorary knighthood to Mr. Bachchan by the British Government on his 80th birthday shall be the recognition of his notable work in the field of art by bringing cultures together,’ Keith wrote.
By: Mohnish Singh
On the occasion of Amitabh Bachchan’s 80th birthday, Keith Vaz, who is Britain’s longest-serving Indian-origin MP, has written a letter to the British PM Liz Truss, suggesting that the Bollywood superstar be given an honorary knighthood, a privilege that in the past has been bestowed on film director Steven Spielberg, actress Angelina Jolie and businessman Bill Gates, amongst others.
Keith, who now chairs the think-tank Integration Foundation, is a great admirer of the legendary Bollywood actor who has touched millions of lives through his work over the course of his five-decade-long career.
“Amitabh Bachchan is one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. Having appeared in over 200 Indian films in a career spanning more than five decades, he is proclaimed the “Shahenshah (Emperor) of Bollywood” and the “Star of the Millenium”. With his massive popularity not only in South Asia but across the globe in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, Mr. Bachchan is an international icon whose personality, passion and performances have inspired millions,” he wrote in his letter to Liz.
Kieth also mentioned that in 2015 the superstar unveiled a historic bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi in London. “Mr. Bachchan has visited the UK numerous times and contributed to several charitable events in the UK. I met him several decades ago when he unveiled two mobile diabetes units in Goa and Mumbai for the UK-India charity, Silver Star Diabetes. He was also invited by Former UK PM David Cameron to unveil Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in London’s Parliament Square in 2015,” he wrote.
Highlighting the accolades showered on Amitabh, Keith wrote, “Having been honoured by the Government of India with three prestigious civilian awards (the Padma Shri in 1984, the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2015), Bachchan was also honoured by the Government of France with its highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour, in 2007. The presentation of the honorary knighthood to Mr. Bachchan by the British Government on his 80th birthday shall be the recognition of his notable work in the field of art by bringing cultures together.”
Keith has also written to the Principal of Homerton College, University of Cambridge, Lord Simon Woolley, to ask him to inaugurate an annual lecture to be named after Bachchan. This will also recognise the legacy of Bachchan’s late father, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a great poet of his time who was very special to the actor.
The designing of a piece of artwork is also ongoing in a park in Rushey Mead, Leicester named after Bachchan.
Meanwhile, wishes are pouring in from all corners of the world for the acting great who is one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema. Amitabh Bachchan, who made his cinematic debut with the 1969 film Saat Hindustani, has enthralled generations with his work in over 200 Indian films.
On the work front, Amitabh Bachchan can be currently seen in the family drama Goodbye. He will next be seen in Uunchai.