Oscar-winning producer Guneet Monga who is known for producing films like ‘The Lunchbox’ and ‘Masaan, was 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 by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Dria.
Celebrating the diverse range of work by Guneet Monga, this prestigious distinction is a mark of appreciation for her invaluable contribution to world cinema and her contribution in the field 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 a 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.
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 proof, of that! May our tribe rise!
Guneet is the founder of Sikhya Entertainment, a production house that has been at the helm of pushing content-driven cinema with films like The Lunchbox, Masaan, What will people Aay, Soorarai Pottaru, Haramkhor, Peddlers and Oscar-Winning Short Film Documentary – Period, End of Sentence to name a few.
In a collaborative effort to uplift Indian female content creators across the globe, Guneet Monga also co-founded the cinema collective- Indian Women Rising in 2021, which aided the run of the critically acclaimed short film ‘Bittu’ at the Oscars.
Earlier, prominent names like Hollywood star Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis have been awarded the Commandeur title while Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have conferred the Officier title.
Popstar Shakira, South star Kamal Hassan and actor-director Nandita Das are the previous honorees of the Chevalier title.