Bollywood’s muscleman Salman Khan’s latest movie ‘Ek tha Tiger’ or there once was a man named Tiger – that released to rave reviews recently echoes a similar story line to a 2000 Chinese film of a similar name. – Ar hu 阿虎 – translated as A fighters Blues, but literally meaning Young rebellious tiger.
Similar to Salman Khan, the protagonist in the film Andy Lau or Liu De hua in Mandarin is a rebellious kick boxing professional fighter. The protagonist, a larger than life superstar in his own right, Andy Lau Tak-Wah MH, is a Hong Kong Cantopop singer, actor, and film producer. Lau has been one of Hong Kong’s most commercially successful film actors since the mid-1980s, performing in more than 160 films while maintaining a successful singing career at the same time. In the 1990s, Lau was branded by the media as one of the Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop (四大天王) along with Aaron Kwok, Jacky Cheung and Leon Lai.
The film – Ar hu focuses on fighting a kickboxing match in Thailand where he manages to kill a man and land himself in prison for 13 years. After being released, he tries to find the woman of his dreams who has since passed away. The rest of the story follows Ar hu, the tiger on his quest to re-acquaint himself with his daughter. The daughter like Katrina Kaif’s role is that of a strong woman character, who shares a special relationship with the protagonist.
This is the first time that we’ve come across a Bollywood film being influenced so strongly by a Hong Kong Chinese film. Considering many Indian serials that follow joint family dramas are watched in China, 3 idiots was a runaway success and our forms of entertainment – song and dance or martial arts are equally demanded by both audiences, it would be interesting to see how we can borrow from each others movies. China specially is keen to learn from India, due to the size and scale of Bollywood – ranked the second largest movie industry in the world after Hollywood. While joint collaborations of crews from both China and India are becoming common, a localisation and adaptation of story lines is also welcome.