Riding high on the remarkable success of her recent Hindi feature film ‘Pagglait’, acclaimed filmmaker Guneet Monga is conferred with the honour of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), the second highest civilian French honour by H.E. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs on 13th April 2021, at the Residence of France, New Delhi, India.
Celebrating the diverse range of work by Guneet Monga, this prestigious distinction is a mark of appreciation for her invaluable contribution to the world cinema and her contribution in the filed of women empowerment through her recently founded cinema collective Indian Women Rising.
Her movie “The Lunchbox” was the first Indo-French co-production to earn CNC grant for a feature film and to break out globally. In 2013, The Lunchbox received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and won Critics Week Viewers Choice Award also known as Grand Rail dOr at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. The film was released the same year in France to critical and public acclaim. Her other Indo-French productions include Masaan and Taj Mahal.
Her participation at the Cannes Film festival continued with various other titles like Peddlers which was selected at the critics week, Gangs of Wasseypur which was selected in Director’s fortnight, Monsoon Shootout which premiered in the midnight section at Cannes and Masaan which won FIPRESCI Prize and Prix de l’Avenir in Un Certain Regard category at the festival.
Honoring the varied accomplishments of the young filmmaker barring the geographical boundaries with content that resonates with audience beyond the demographical bounds, the France has decided to offer the title to Guneet Monga.
Receiving the award at the event, Guneet Monga said, “I’ve been in awe of French Cinema even since I began my career as a filmmaker hence being honoured with the title ‘Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ is extremely special for me- it feels like my life and my work has come to full circle today. With my content, I’ve constantly strived to uplift women narrative in cinema. I’m grateful for this honour and would like to share it with my co-founders of Indian Women Rising and my entire team at Sikhya entertainment. Even though the honour has mine and my family’s name on it, I dedicate this award to every girl with a dream. Continue to Dream freely and create fearlessly. The universe is always conspiring in favour of the brave and I stand here as a proof, of that! May our tribe rise!”
On this occasion, Minister Le Drian said: “India and France share the same passion for cinema. I was proud to congratulate Indian and French women producers for their Indo-French collaborations and for their work towards gender equality in this field. The Embassy of France in India will also play its part, through this agreement with the Collectif 50/50. Gender equality is a foremost priority of France’s foreign policy”.
Guneet Monga is an Indian film producer, a BAFTA nominee and amongst the first producers from India to be invited in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She is the founder of Sikhya Entertainment, production house that has been at the helm of pushing content-driven cinema with films like The Lunchbox, Masaan, What will people say, Soorarai Pottaru, Haramkhor, Peddlers and Oscar Winning Short Film Documentary – Period, End of Sentence to name a few. Guneet Monga is one of the most renowned filmmakers not just in India but also across the globe, symbolizing the victory of content with her projects.
In a collaborative effort to uplift Indian female content creators across the globe, Guneet Monga co-founded the cinema collective- Indian Women Rising in 2021, which aided the run of the critically acclaimed short film ‘Bittu’ at the Oscars.
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France rewards contributors across the globe under three categories- Commandeur, Officier and Chevalier. Earlier prominent names like Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis have been felicitated with the Commandeur title while Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Michael Keaton amongst others have won the Officier title. Guneet Monga would be conferred with the Chevalier, after Shakira, Kamal Hassan, Nandita Das amongst others.