Aishwarya Rai was Thursday conferred upon a civilian award by the French government for her contribution to the arts on the occasion of her birthday.
Francois Richier, ambassador of France to India, conferred the honour of prestigious 'Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters' on her at a hotel in Mumbai.
On receiving the award, Aishwarya said: "I want to thank the French government for honouring me with the award. It's truly overwhelming. I thank you in all humility."
She thanked her family for their support and expressed her gratitude towards her colleagues.
"I want to thank every professional who I have worked with and who made it possible for me to have such a glorious career," she said.
The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters honour is given to people who have shown exceptionable contribution to arts in France and the rest of the world.
In the past, noted celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan and Nandita Das received the honour.
The entire Bachchan family, except Jaya Bachchan, was present at the event. Aishwarya's daughter Aaradhya was also there.
Besides her family, actress Nandita Das, Parmeshwar Godrej and filmmaker Pritish Nandy were also present on the occasion among others.
Aishwarya turned 39 Thursday, so a cake cutting ceremony was also organised for her.
After winning the Miss World crown in 1994, Aishwarya debuted as an actress in Mani Ratnam's 1997 Tamil movie 'Iruvar'. Later she did Hindi movies like 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', 'Guru', 'Jodhaa Akbar' and 'Devdas'.
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