Leeds University honours Bollywood icons

Three of Indian cinema’s biggest icons – Amitabh Bachchan , Shabana Azmi and Yash Chopra – were Saturday conferred with an honorary doctorate by the Leeds Metropolitan University in Yorkshire, for their contribution to celluloid.

Bachchan, Azmi and Chopra were conferred with an Honorary Doctorate in Art by Chancellor of the University Brandan Foster at a solemn ceremony this morning, which was attended by Abhishek Bachchan , Aishwarya Rai and Shweta Bachchan-Nanda.

Accepting the honour, Bachchan went into a nostalgic mood reminiscing about his father Harivanshrai Bachchan, who passed out of Cambridge. “This is his centenary year and I am sure that wherever he is, he will be happy to see me standing here at this auditorium,” Bachchan said.

Bachchan also used the occasion to point out that Indian cinema had come a long way from the earlier days when it was looked down upon.

“In the earlier days our popular culture or our cinema was the butt of ridicule, but today, the same culture is the subject of much respect and analysis. I am very heartened that this happened in my lifetime,” the legendary actor added.

Bachchan also announced that the auditorium of the Leeds Metropolitan University, in which the function was held, would be named as Gandhi Hall, leading to a thunderous applause among the audience.

Speaking on the occasion, Azmi and Chopra thanked the Hindi film industry as well as the Leeds University.

“We will have more graduation ceremonies later and perhaps more grand than this, but we will never have a more prestigious ceremony,” University Chancellor Brandan Foster said.