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Shah Rukh Khan to Be honored With Locarno Film Festival Career award

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Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan will be honored by the Locarno Film Festival with its Honorary Leopard achievement award for his outstanding career in Indian cinema, spanning over 100 films “in a breathtaking multitude of genres,” the festival announced on Tuesday.

Khan, known in India as “King Khan,” will travel to receive the award on August 10 at the Swiss festival’s 8,000-seat Piazza Grande open-air venue. His 2022 love triangle drama Devdas – in which Khan plays the titular character, a tragic romantic alcoholic – will be screened, followed by an onstage conversation on Aug. 11.

Devdas, which scored a BAFTA nomination and won numerous Indian awards, marked the first time many Western audience members were exposed to mainstream Bollywood.

“To welcome a living legend like Shah Rukh Kahn in Locarno is a dream come true!” said Locarno artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro.

Nazzaro went on to praise Khan as “a king who has never lost touch with the audience that crowned him,” adding that “This brave and daring artist has always been willing to challenge himself while remaining true to what his fans all over the world eagerly expect from his films.”

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Born in 1965 in New Delhi, Khan’s breakout role came with the romantic thriller Baazigar (1993), in which he starred as a murderous but sympathetic anti-hero on a quest for vengeance. A few years later, he was propelled to superstardom with the romantic drama Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) and the love story Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998).

 

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“At the same time, the enormity of this newfound fame did not deter Khan from taking on roles that were different and much ahead of their time,” such as Rahul in Darr (1993), a romantic psychological thriller directed by Yash Chopra; and as a journalist who falls in love with a terrorist in the epic Dil Se (1998) by Mani Ratnam, according to the Locarno profile.

The fest’s statement also noted that “In the subsequent two decades, Khan’s career would feature high-profile collaborations with some of India’s most prominent directors and stars, leading to tremendous recognition internationally as well.”

After a five-year hiatus following a spate of box-office underperformers, Khan only appeared in cameos, he made a roaring comeback with the two biggest hits of the year — Pathaan and Jawan, the latter produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, the production company and VFX house he co-founded.

Khan also co-owns the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders and the Caribbean Premier League team Trinbago Knight Riders.

Previous recipients of Locarno’s Honorary Leopard include Tsai Ming-liang, Francesco Rosi, Claudia Cardinale, Johnnie To, Harry Belafonte, Mario Adorf, Jane Birkin, and Costa-Gavras.

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