Bollywood bonding: Hindi Chini filmi bhai

3 idiots ChinaCall it Bollywood bonding, if you like. India and China may have some festering differences, but the magic of cinema entwines these two Asian giants.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping comes to India on his maiden visit September 17-19, the two countries are expected to sign a pact on the joint co-production of films, a pioneering initiative that seeks to bring the people of the two countries closer culturally.

“Both have huge film industries and these industries will be linked soon following the pact,” said Zhang Hongsenon, Director-General of Film Bureau of China, on September 10.

This move follows recent attempts by the film industry in both countries to tap into the rich tapestry of their variegated culture.  In recent years Indian movies like the Aamir Khan-starrer, Three Idiots, have been a huge success in China. Dubbed versions of the movie were screened throughout the country, making the language barrier a mere formality.

Even Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan was all praise for the movie during his recent visit to India. Enthusiastic about the songs and dances in Indian movies, he even urged Indian movie directors to cast him.

“I am a huge fan of Bollywood movies, but it is hard for me to remember names. I remember just one movie at this point ‘3 Idiots’. I loved the movie. I have seen many other movies but can’t remember their names.”

jackie-chainThe first Chinese film to be shot in India, ‘My Amazing Trip to India’, which portrays the struggles faced by a Chinese traveller in India, is set to be released in China in the next few months.

It is with this cultural exchange in mind that on August 21, the Indian embassy organised the ‘Glimpses India Festival’ which showcased some of the latest India movies across 12 cities of China in a bid to promote Indian movies and culture.

The films featured in the festival included Jodhaa Akbar, Oh My God, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Tare Zameen Par, Dil Chahta Hai, Queen, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Malayalam film Manjadikuru.

But this is not the first time China has fallen in love with Indian movies. In the 1950s Indian cultural icon Raj Kapoor and his movie ‘Awara’ was quite the rage; the song ‘Awara hoon’ from the movie still continues to be hummed by the older generation.

If the marketing of the movies is done well, the potential market for Indian movies in China, and Chinese movies in India is huge. According to report, there are 22,000 digital screens across China, of which 90 percent are 3d screens. There are also 200 IMAX screens and 150 giant screens.

Besides entertainment value, movies can also help smash stereotypes the two cultures have of each other. The joy of cinema transcends borders. It helps us share stories that go beyond geography, tales that are at its core innately human. It is with this firm belief in the magic of cinema that India and China have decided to popularise each other’s movies in their countries.

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