In the first 72 hours of release in China, the film has already grossed US$5.3 million (32.6 million RMB). Known to make intellectual, creative and thought provoking films that have movie-goers reflect on their lives, society and ideologies, Aamir Khan’s movies also connect India and China – expose their differences and celebrate our similarities. Take for example, PK which ridicules the idea of religion and superstitions that are so ingrained in Indian society.
Yet, at the same time, reflects Chinese sentiments which from an communist, atheist perspective, religion has no purpose or function. In the story, PK, an alien from outer space (Khan), who doesn’t know what religion is, lands in India and through his various experiences and idiosyncrasies exposes the often strange and inexplicable religious notions much believed in India. The movie, which in a way reflects how Chinese audiences might view Indian religious rituals makes a comedy of an otherwise sensitive topic.
Similarly, Khan’s earlier film 3 idiots, grossed over US$2 million in 2011 in official sales. Sources say sales of pirated DVD’s would account for atleast double that.
Like PK, 3 idiots hit a strong note with Chinese audiences, where the one child policy has generated undue stress on the young to excel in academics often leading to high stress and sometimes suicides. Although this was Aamir Khan’s first trip to China, the Bollywood superstar isn’t the only hero to be recognised in the Middle Kingdom. Before China opened up to the influences of Hollywood, Indian box-office legend Raj Kapoor was extremely popular in China. So much so that, until today any Chinese person above the age of 30 can sign Aawara Hoon Mein, the hit song from the 1951 film Aawara , literally meaning vagabond. As Sino-Indian ties warm up, four more films which will be co-produced between Indian and Chinese teams are in the pipeline –
- Kung Fu Yoga, an action comedy adventure that combines Chinese martial arts and Indian culture and that will star Jackie Chan and PK’s star Aamir Khan.
- An historical drama about Xuanzang, the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk who made an arduous journey to India to study Buddhism. Prominent Chinese director Wong Kar Wai will executive produce the film.
- Another co-production, Da Nao Tian Zhu (aka “Wreaking Havoc in India”) will become the first film directed by Chinese film star Wang Baoqiang.
- Gold Struck – starring Amitabh Bachchan and another legendary Chinese actor is being produced by Lighthouse Productions Pvt. Ltd.. The story swarms between India and China as a young Chinese princess is wooed by an Indian hunk.
Last but not least, deals are also being hatched for Chinese High Net Worth Individuals and provincial governments to invest in Bollywood and for Hindi films to be shot in China.