Scripting the largest celluloid collaboration between China and India, a Beijing-based film group, Lighthouse Productions, backed by the China Film Group Corporation, the country’s biggest State-run film enterprise is making China’s first ever home-made “Bollywood” film production, a US$ 10 million project that will be set in China and India and is looking to rope in some of India’s biggest stars.
Titled ‘Gold Struck’, the movie tells the story of two Indian and Chinese research students who meet in an American university, and embark on an adventure that takes them back through time to Qin Dynasty China in 220 BC. The working languages for the film are Mandarin Chinese, Hindi and English. The film, replete with song and dance sequences, would be shot by Hong Kong-based director Tony Cheung in the “Bollywood-style.
While production is slated to begin in the second half of 2011, China Film Group Corporation is currently in India auditioning for actors. Likely candidates include Shahid Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor. This would be the first-ever film project backed by both Chinese and Indian investors, with Indian and Chinese characters and cultural content specifically tailored for audiences of both countries.
While Bollywood movies of the 1960-70’s such as Aawara and Caravan were big hits, and Raj Kapoor is still a household name in China, the influx of Hollywood films and stress on English over the past few decades gradually eroded Bollywood from Chinese cinema.Moreover, Chinese censorship laws allow only 20 foreign films to be screened in Chinese cinemas annually, this leaves the Mandarins with little exposure to Indian culture, dance and language. However, as trade between India and China soars, cultural exchanges between the two countries are also increasing. More recently My Name is Khan and Slumdog Millionaire both were widely watched across the Middle Kingdom. Producers of Gold Struck hope to make it the biggest Bollywood Blockbuster after Raj Kapoor’s films in China.