London: British actor Ben Kingsley, best known for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Richard Attenborough`s 1982 biopic ‘Gandhi’, will be honoured with a Fellowship Award at the annual Asian Awards here today.
"Ben Kingsley is without a doubt one of the most accomplished actors of Asian descent and we are incredibly proud and excited to celebrate the remarkable career of such an outstanding individual," said Paul Sagoo, founder of the awards, which will be hosted at Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane by London 2012 Olympic mastermind Lord Sebastian Coe KBE.
The 69-year-old actor was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji to an English mother and Gujarati doctor father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji.
He changed his name early in his career after gaining recognition as a stage actor. In 1984, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The actor was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2002, something he recently described as a "healing of wounds" left by a difficult childhood.
"My mother, far from being proud, was very jealous of my success. Any kind of embrace (from my parents) was totally absent from my life so to be embraced by Her Majesty...
"I felt like stopping people in the street, saying my mum loves me, you know. Because that`s what it felt like, to me. The filling of a vacuum in the universe," he had said.
Kingsley is currently shooting for Hollywood blockbuster ‘Iron Man 3’ and will fly to London to collect his latest award, which puts him in league with the late Pandit Ravi Shankar.
The Asian Awards was set up in 2010 to honour high-level achievements from the Asian sub-continent across various categories. Indian cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar, singer Asha Bhosle, actor Amitabh Bachchan, musician A R Rahman, Ratan Tata and Vijay Mallya are some of the recipients of this award.
The judging panel, which includes prominent personalities from different walks of life, is chaired by Indian-origin parliamentarian and minister at the UK government`s Department of Energy and Climate Change, Baroness Sandip Verma.
"The Asian Awards is an inspirational platform from which to celebrate some of the world`s most inspiring people. I`m proud that the process is rigorous, transparent and robust," she said.
The awards, this year in partnership with Sotheby`s International Realty, have cast their net wider to include nominees from all over the Asian continent.
For the first time, nominees of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Singaporean and other East Asian descent have also been considered.