11 July : Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan was on Friday conferred the honorary Doctorate in Arts and Culture by a leading British university for his “exceptional achievement” in the field of entertainment and media.At a glittering investiture ceremony held at Washington Mayfare, a hotel owned by NRI entrepreneur Joginder Singh Sangar, the Bollywood heartthrob was conferred the Doctorate by Professor Les Ebdon, Vice Chancellor of the Bedfordshire University.
Receiving the honour, Shahrukh said, “today I feel that I am a part of the illustrious alumni of this prestigious university. I look forward to doing my bit in providing necessary assistance to the deserving children for higher education in my university”.
Shahrukh, who got quite emotional at the function, said “while this honour is bestowed on me, I wonder, if the deserving but poor and under privileged children from India can also pursue their higher education in such university and may earn a doctorate as well”.
The citation read in the University “confer the honorary Doctorate of Art to Shahrukh Khan in recognition of his exceptional achievement as the film actor and producer”.
Khan who has a huge fan base across the globe started his career in the late 1980s with television serials. “He made his film debut in the commercially successful ‘Diwana’ in 1992 and since then has gone on to play a variety of critically acclaimed roles, the citation read.
The citation lauded Shahrukh’s acting in several Bollywood movies such as ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge'(1995), ‘Kuch-Kuch Hota Hai'(1998), ‘Chak De India’ (2007), ‘Om Shanti Om'(2007) and ‘Rab Ne Bana di Jodi'(2008).
“Film such as ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham’, ‘Veer Zara’, ‘Kabhi Alwida Na Kehna’ and ‘Devdas’ have been hits overseas as well making Khan one of the most successful actors of Hindi cinema,” it said.
The citation also noted that in April 2007 a life-size wax statue of Shahrukh was unveiled at Madame Tussauds museum in London. During the same year, he was accorded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of the Art and Literature) award by French government “for his exceptional career”.
Besides Lord Navnit Dholakia, Lord Bagri, Baroness Verma, Baroness Flather and Lady Paul were among those who attended the function.
‘Routes 2 Routes’, an India-based NGO, had nominated Shahrukh Khan for the honour to the university.
Rakesh Gupta, Secretary, Routes 2 Routes, said, “we nominated Shahrukh Khan for this honour as he is not only an entertainer and the King of the Indian film industry but he is also a philanthropist who has been silently working for the betterment of the under privileged at large.
“We discovered that he has adopted few villages in India for electrification using alternate source of energy. He has been so active whenever the need came for raising fund during natural calamities,” Gupta said.