Lata 'doubly honoured' for being chosen for French award

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By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, Dec 1 (IANS) The French embassy Wednesday will honour singing legend Lata Mangeshkar with the 'Officier de la Legion d'Honneur', France's highest civilian award, for her contribution to music. The 80-year-old says she feels doubly honoured to be chosen for the honour.

"I don't know why god continues to shower his largesse on me when I've reached an age when I've received more love and honour than any human deserves. But the French are a class act. And I feel doubly honoured to be chosen by them," Lata told IANS.

The award function will be part of the French Film Festival.

"It will be part of the French Film Festival. They've sent me some invites which I've given to people very close to me. The rest of the film industry I've no idea about. I know I've the industry's blessings, though," she said.

Earlier, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan received the same award, though he was conferred the award after Lata.

"Actually I got this French honour three years back. But I was in no condition to receive it. I was actually on drips when I was informed about the award. Now when I had completely forgotten about it, they called to say they're giving me the award on December 2.

"I thought they had forgotten about it too," she laughed and added: "Actually I think it was my rakhi-brother Shivaji Ganesan who was the first Indian artiste to be given the legion d'Honeur'... then came me and Amitabhji."

Must say the French have good taste. Laughing at the observation, Lata said: "People say recognition has no meaning beyond a certain stage in one's growth as an artiste. I say it's never too late to be told people love you."

Big B, who is busy preparing for the premiere of his home production "Paa" Thursday, is also expected to attend the award ceremony.