An actor who does not defy gravity

Xia Yu is not in the Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan mould. He prefers to stay on the ground and emote.

Chinese superstar Xia Yu arrived in Kollam to act in the Indo-Chinese film The Desire directed by R. Sarath. In the film, he stars opposite Bollywood heroine Shilpa Shetty.

Xia is not the typical Chinese actor an Indian viewer will have in mind. Unlike Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li, Xia is not adept in martial arts and gravity-defying stunts.

Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the shooting schedule, the 32-year-old actor said that he was concentrating more on drama. “Moreover I am now a bit old to learn martial arts since in China they start learning them at a very young age,” he says.

Xia is yet to meet Shilpa. The rendezvous will be in Mumbai this week. But, to get an idea of his co-star’s work, he watched some of her films in China. “She is very pretty and talented,” is the verdict.

Xia who shot into fame by winning the best actor award in the Venice Film Festival in 1994 for his debut film In the Heat of the Sun said that Kerala is beautiful but very warm “especially since I arrived from Beijing where the temperature was minus 7.”

He had not watched Hindi films before but after seeing some of Shilpa’s works in Bollywood, he feels he should see more of them.

He proudly says that the actor in him was discovered by the famous Chinese actor-director, Jiang Wen. After winning the best actor award at Venice he was accepted into The Central Academy of Drama, the most prestigious acting institute in China.

Xia has acted in more than 20 films. In The Desire he plays an artist, Jai Leang. Interestingly Xia himself is the son of a famous Chinese painter.

Ignatius Pereira

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