Mumbai: Bollywood actress 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 here.
Aishwarya’s birthday also marked for daughter Aaradhya’s first public appearance. The little one, who is soon going to turn one was present with her family on the occasion. Amidst a lot of press people, Aishwarya seemed quite comfortable at being photographed with Aaradhya. The Bachchans, so far had closely guarded the little one from the prying lenses. But after Aaradhya’s first pictures from Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday party were tweeted in September and later splashed all over the media, this was the first public outing for baby Bachchan.
While Aishwarya was on stage being honoured, Abhishek played a doting father and was on diaper duty.
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, were present at the event.
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 Akhbar" and "Devdas".
(With Agency Inputs)