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An action hero calls for peace

Madhur Tankha
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‘Mediator’ in the middle:Chinese actor Jackie Chan with Chinese actresses Yao Xingtong (right) and Zhang Mengyu ahead of the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese Film Festival 2013 atSiri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday.— Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
‘Mediator’ in the middle:Chinese actor Jackie Chan with Chinese actresses Yao Xingtong (right) and Zhang Mengyu ahead of the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese Film Festival 2013 atSiri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday.— Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Hong Kong-based actor Jackie Chan’s name may be synonymous with action films and aggression but off the screen he seems to epitomise and encourage peace. The actor has stressed the need to screen movies in India and China which talk about the need to strive for peaceful co-existence between the two neighbours.

Speaking on the first day of six-day-long Chinese Film Festival at Siri Fort Auditorium here, the actor said, “We cannot choose our neighbours. In fact, we should love each other; why hate each other? Through films we need to promote peace,” replying to a question on the recent border tension.

A bespectacled Jackie, dressed in an immaculate white dress, quipped to the media persons from both the nations that he no longer wanted to be seen as a martial arts actor but, rather, as someone in the league of Hollywood actor Robert De Nero: “An action hero’s shelf life is small.”

The actor, whose martial arts — notwithstanding his comic fight sequences — has been compared with the legendary actor Bruce Lee, admitted that he held the late actor in high regard: “When I was young I used to watch him do his action sequences.”

Noting that he came to India a decade ago to make The Myth , Mr. Chan said it was a successful venture not only in China but across the globe: “I shot the film for a month here. During this period, I watched a lot of television and was impressed with all the singing and dancing. I loved the music of 3 Idiots and wanted to dance with co-actor Mallika Sherawat for the Indian version of The Myth .”

The actor, one of the most sought-after actors in the American film industry, is open to the idea of doing a Bollywood film which has traditional song and dance routines. The rider being that the writer must have the ability to make the people understand Indian culture.

“Ordinary people in China do not understand Indian culture… I am just waiting and hoping that some Indian director understands that I am a pretty good actor and not just a fighter.”

To prove that he had a flair for dance, Mr. Chan displayed some synchronised hand movements and sportingly admitted that the problem area was his inability to move his head.

“I like cooperation but the script is very important. We will make one version for India and the other for the rest of the world,” he said.

Admitting that he had played negative characters in his earlier flicks, Mr. Chan said: “In the old days, when I had no money, I did films in which I drank and fought all the time. But when I became famous, I realised I have certain responsibility towards my large audience.”

For the action-movie star, the challenge was to perform fighting sequences in a different way. “How could I do punching and kicking differently from others? So I started using the table and napkins while doing martial arts.”

Mr. Chan, who has earlier made trips to the country to do charity work and clinch some business deals in a bid to encourage cooperation with Indians, now wants them to understand the neighbour through its films.


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