Aamir Khan's 'Thugs of Hindostan' eyeing success in China

By Manisha Chakraborty
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, January 1, 2019
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Poster of "Thugs of Hindostan" [Photo/1905.com]

It is a fact that although Hollywood films are still capturing the hearts of Chinese moviegoers, Indian Bollywood films have also proved to be popular in China over the last few years. The golden success of the new generation of Bollywood movies, from the sports biopic "Dangal" to the social drama "Hichki," has shown that the country is in the thrall of Indian cinema.

Notably, China's growing fascination with Bollywood seems to hinge on movie mogul Aamir Khan, who has become a much-loved actor in China with his many previous hits "3 Idiots," "Dhoom 3," "PK," "Dangal" and "Secret Superstar." He has become the symbol of Indian film for many Chinese people and is affectionately known in China as Uncle Aamir. 

China has emerged as a major market for the Bollywood superstar after the mammoth success of his film "Dangal," widely known in China as "Shuai Jiao Ba! Baba," which translates as "Let's Wrestle, Dad." Since its Chinese release on May 5 last year, the wrestling drama won widespread praise from all sectors of the Chinese community for its simple but powerful tale – the true story of a man's determination to turn two daughters into world-class wrestlers. 

In 2018, Aamir Khan's "Secret Superstar," which hit Chinese mainland theaters on January 19 and completed its month-long run on February 18, netted over US$49 million (about 335 million yuan), accounting for nearly 2.6 percent of China's total box-office receipts for the month of February.

Undoubtedly, in recent years Bollywood movies like those mentioned above, plus "Hindi Medium," "Toilet Ek Prem Katha," "Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" and "Hichki," to mention a few, are successfully bridging Sino-Indian cultural exchange, dispelling many false popular Chinese notions by providing a more empathetic and holistic glimpse of India.

Aamir Khan takes selfies with fans at a promotional event of his new film "Thugs of Hindostan" in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, December 18, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Now again, Aamir Khan's latest venture "Thugs of Hindostan" was released in China on December 28, 2018 in 10,000 theaters on a whopping 56,000 screens, including 47,000 3D screens. Written and directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, the 2018 Hindi-language action adventure film also stars Amitabh Bachchan, Katrina Kaif and Fatima Sana Shaikh in the lead roles. With a total production cost of US$43.5 million (nearly 300 million yuan), the movie is reported to be the most expensive ever made in Bollywood. 

Aamir Khan made a 10-day promotional tour to eight major cities in China from December 16 to 25, 2018 to publicize the release of "Thugs of Hindostan," with an aim to win the hearts of Chinese moviegoers. Film critics and media analysts expect that the action-adventure-fantasy film will perform well in the China box office due to the great love and respect Chinese audiences already hold for the Indian actor. 

Film truly is a unique tool of artistic expression that plays an important role in cultural exchange, co-existence and tolerance. Indeed, Indian films have considerably strengthened cultural ties between India and China. Addressing the 3rd India-China Media Forum in New Delhi on December 21, 2018, Huang Xingwei, senior editor of Xinhua News Agency, rightly said, "Bollywood movies have been the window to India for many Chinese for decades."

Cooperation in the field of film could be a good way to further boost Sino-Indian ties, and the two countries, being old and close Asian neighbors, should aim to upgrade their cooperation to a higher level through closer cultural exchanges.

The author is the cultural secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, based in West Bengal, India. 

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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