Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi touches down in the Chinese city of Xi’an, Bollywood star Aamir Khan will be making a big splash in Beijing along with Kung Fu superstar Jackie Chan at a joint press conference.
Aamir Khan is in town for a mega-launch of his latest film PK , which will release in 4,600 screens across China this month, which they hope will break records set by 3 Idiots , that released in 2011 to packed houses.
The launch will be announced along with agreements of co-production of three films between Indian and Chinese production firms, who are taking advantage of the agreement for films signed when President Xi Jinping visited India last September.
Indian Ambassador to China Ashok Kantha who took an Indian film festival to six Chinese cities last year, told The Hindu , cooperation on films is now one of the “highlights” of the India-China relationship.
The advantage of co-productions between Indian and Chinese companies, especially deals with the State-run China film group, as it allows the film to escape strict government quotas for foreign films that can be released in China.
One of the films to be jointly produced by India’s Eros films and the China film group will be a biopic on Chinese monk Hsuan Tsang who had travelled to India in the seventh century and returned to Xi’an to write about Buddhism. The film that is reported to star Amitabh Bachchan and Chinese star Huang Xiaoming will begin filming in China later this month, while another joint production with Jackie Chan, Kung Fu Yoga is underway.
Together the Indian and Chinese ventures hope to tap into the $4.5 billion in revenues that box office returns bring in China, something the same team that made PK : director Vidhu Vinod Chopra and actor Aamir Khan realised when their previous film 3 Idiots became the highest grossing Indian film in China, that earned $1.15million within a few days, along with Happy New Year and Dhoom 3 that did very well here too.
Explaining the success of 3 Idiots , Ambassador Ashok Kantha says the theme “resonated with people in China.” “They can relate to the twin pressures of parents’ expectations, and facing fierce academic competition,” he added about the film that focused on the lives of three young men who go to engineering college. The film PK , about an alien’s impressions of India, particularly the phenomenon of blind faith in religious gurus is also expected to strike a chord in China where religious cults are growing.