Kabir Bedi with his family
At the private ceremony overlooking the Gateway of India in Mumbai, actor Kabir Bedi was awarded the "Order of Merit of the Italian Republic" (Merito della Repubblica Italiana), the most senior Italian civilian award. After the formal ceremony, there was a special live musical performance by Niccolo Fabi which set off the celebrations perfectly.
"This is a very emotional award for me," Kabir said. "Being presented the Order of Merit, Italy's highest honour, is the fulfillment of my life's work in Italy. It's even higher than Cavaliere (Knight), which they made me twelve years ago. It gives me great joy to see Prime Minister Meloni and Modi complimenting each other on the internet with #Melodi. Now it's time for the great film industries of Italy and India to produce world-class films together."
Kabir gave a heartwarming speech thanking Italy and the Italian people for their enduring love over the years. He thanked his wife, children, and grandchildren for their presence and the joy they bring into his life.
This double honour, he said, was "a goose-bumps moment" for him. He recalled that his journey of being Sandokan began one hundred meters from where they were standing today, at the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. That's where he met the director and Producer of the Sandokan series for the very first time. "Life has come full circle" Kabir said.
Alessandro De Masi the Consul General of Italy read the words of the President Mattarealla of Italy in his speech. "Kabir Bediâ¦ is tied to Italy over the last 30 years by an extraordinary human and artistic partnership". The scroll of honour was signed by President Mattarella and counter-signed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Alessandro de Masi - Consul General of Italy said, "Kabir keeps on playing, decade after decade, an extraordinary role in promoting better relations between India and Italy. His popularity is widespread across all generations in Italy. This is the reason why the President of the Republic of Italy has decided to present him one of Italy's highest decorations, The Order of Merit. Kabir is very special for all of us Italians."
The Ambassador to Italy, Vicenzo De Luca said, "Kabir is not only a great promoter and a profound admirer of Italy, in India and around the several countries where he is known. Kabir is a sincere friend of Italy, strongly bonded to it. As often he likes to define himself, Kabir "feels an Italian in India and an Indian in Italy". This award, the most prestigious Italian honorific one, ultimately recognizes his unconditional feeling and passionate dedication to Italy."