Singing and dancing versus kung fu and martial arts? India and China may have been projected as rivals, but where diplomacy stutters, popular culture scores. Iconic Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, the auteur of internationally acclaimed films like like ‘Red Sorghum’ and “Raise the Read Lantern,” is in love with Indian films.
A great fan of Amir Khan-starrer Three Idiots, a film which has struck a popular chord in China. Zhang, who was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the recent 14th Mumbai Film Festival, is all praise for what he sees as maturing of the Indian cinema, which he feels has has broken the stereotype of dancing and singing by venturing into other genres as well.
“There have been lot of changes in the Indian movie industry. Lot of movies have broken the stereotype of dancing and singing and ventured into other genres. I would love to get to know more about the films here,” Zhang told a news agency. “For India it is singing and dancing in movies while for China it is martial arts and kung fu. Both Asian countries have a lot of things in common. We see lot of potential for collaboration,” he said.
Zhang said he enjoyed watching “3 Idiots,” a Bollywood blockbuster that critiques controlled education system, which has become a rage in China.
“I recently saw ‘3 Idiots’. There have been changes in Bollywood industry and a lot of rapid developments. “In China a lot of young people watch Bollywood films. Indian market is also very attractive for our movies. Indian movies sometimes also have a Chinese element in them,” he said.
The Chinese film-maker is an ardent believer in the power of films to create a cross-cultural dialogue.
“Films are a bridge of communication…that is the beauty of movies. I think China and India are similar as both have a long history, are very popular countries and have great movie market. Directors from both countries are trying to break the stereotype,” he said.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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