"It feels very good. It is a peer group that has given me this award, so it feels very good and nice," Sharmila said. The actress and former Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) head will receive the honour at the opening ceremony of the festival, run by Mumbai Academy of Moving Image (MAMI), on October 12.
Sharmila, 72, made her acting debut at the age of 13 when she began shooting for auteur Satyajit Ray's "Apur Sansar" (World of Apu), the last in the celebrated Apu trilogy. The film was released on May 1, 1959.
Since then, audiences have seen the multiple National Award-winner transform from film to film. Be it Tapan Sinha's "Nirjan Saikate", Hrishikesh Mukherjee's "Anupama" or Shakti Samanta's "Kashmir Ki Kali", Sharmila's repertoire has been a rare combination of critical and commercial success at a time when women were cast in secondary characters.
Related by birth to the famous Tagore family of Bengal that gave to the world Noble laureate Rabindranath Tagore, she continued her winning streak with meaty roles even after her marriage to Indian cricketing legend Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. She has three children -- son Saif Ali Khan and daughters Soha and Saba.
The Mumbai Film Festival will run till October 18 across seven venues here.
Over 220 films from 49 countries and filmed in 51 languages are part of the line-up, which will begin with Anurag Kashyap's "Mukkabaaz (The Brawler)".
Globally known Italian actress Monica Bellucci will attend the event, apart from popular director John Madden, whose "Shakespeare In Love" won an Oscar, and who helmed "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" series, widely shot in India. Madden will serve as head of the international jury at the festival.
Talking about the festival, Sharmila said it has become bigger and better over the years.
"It is run by wonderful people like Anupama Chopra and Kiran Rao. I can see it is very well run by female power with lots of young girls sorting things out. Mumbai has its own tradition of film watching, so you can feel that vibe. I can see that it's a very good festival and will get better and better in future," she said.