Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan to collect honorary doctorate
- BY:JULIE HARE
- From:The Australian
- October 19, 2011 3:19PM
TWO years after refusing an honorary doctorate from an Australian university, Indian acting legend Amitabh Bachchan will tomorrow don his academic finery and accept the title of doctor of Queensland University of Technology.
Mr Bachchan was due to collect the award in 2009, but against a background of ongoing bashings of Indian students, protests on the streets of Melbourne and a tsunami of histrionic media in his homeland, he declined on the grounds it would be inappropriate.
Mr Bachchan is considered one of the most legendary and influential actors in modern Indian cinema – the Robert de Niro of Bollywood.
He is currently in Australia as a cast member of The Great Gatsby, directed by Baz Luhrmann, and being filmed in and around Sydney.
QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake said Mr Bachchan is a “hugely popular and influential figure in India”.
“His agreement to now proceed with the award is significant in that it can be seen as a measure of improved perceptions in India, not only of Australia itself, but also of improvements in the safety of Indian students here, and Australia’s welcoming approach to international students,” Professor Coaldrake said.
Professor Coaldrake said Mr Bachchan was the second Indian national to be so recognised by QUT, after IT supremo Narayana Murthy.
Mr Bachchan will also launch an international travel bursary at QUT in the name of his late father Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan, a leading Indian poet and only the second Indian to receive a PhD from Cambridge University, The scholarship will be for student to visit Indian institutions in the creative entertainment and cultural sectors for study or research.
Mr Bachchan already holds an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Delhi University.