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Despite Testy Ties, Bollywood Movie ‘Dangal’ that addresses Social Themes and Stars Actor Aamir Khan captivates Audiences in China

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In this Monday, May 22, 2017 photo, a group of Chinese women take a selfie with a poster of Indian Bollywood blockbuster film “Dangal” on display at a cinema in Beijing. The Aamir Khan film “Dangal” about an Indian man training his daughters to become wrestlers has become China’s biggest grossing non-Hollywood foreign movie. The Indian film was released in China on May 5. By Tuesday, the Indian film had pulled in 806 million yuan ($117 million) in mainland China, according to data from EntGroup, a leading entertainment consultant. (AP Photo/Andy Wong). VOA

An Indian film that addresses social themes and stars actor Aamir Khan has captivated audiences in China. The film is thriving, despite the fact that India was the only major country to boycott Beijing’s Belt and Road Forum earlier this month.

But the irony and sharp contrast of those two developments was largely lost on the millions of Chinese viewers who have helped keep the Hindi language film land in the top slot, despite the fact that it has subtitles and no voice-over dubbing.

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Analysts, film critics, and social media pundits are still debating what drove hordes of Chinese viewers to this movie, which is not your standard Bollywood mix of songs, dance and bloodletting violence.

Breaking new ground

According to industry sources, this is the first time a movie that was not made in Chinese or English has emerged as the top seller in the world’s second-largest movie market. China imports very few foreign films a year, and non-Hollywood movies make up an even smaller portion of that share.

A wide range of reasons are being forwarded as explanations for the success of Dangal, which has grossed $124 million since its May 5 release in 9,000 theaters across China. On Friday, three weeks after its release, the movie finally slipped from the first to the second highest selling slot. The runner-up, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2, has brought in $98 million in China over the same period.

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Perhaps an important reason for Dangal’s success is the celebrity status that Aamir Khan, the star and driving force behind the movie, has enjoyed in China for several years with his previous movies, PK and 3 Idiots, which did very well with Chinese movie-goers. Even before Dangal arrived on the Chinese scene, Amir had a bigger following on his Sina Weibo social media account than Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His following now stands at 600,000 fans compared to Modi’s 165,000.

FILE - Bollywood actor Aamir Khan speaks to the media during the poster launch of his film Dangal in Mumbai, India.
FILE – Bollywood actor Aamir Khan speaks to the media during the poster launch of his film Dangal in Mumbai, India. VOA

Deft marketing including personal canvassing by Khan, who spent a week traveling across Chinese cities, also played a part.

But critics and social media pundits in China see an altogether different reason. Thousands of reviews, articles and social media posts have focused on the peculiar connection between patriarchal society in China and India.

Patriarchy vs feminism

The film revolves around a wrestler father who forces his reluctant daughters to take up the sport.

His authoritarian and strict parenting style is something audiences in China can easily relate to, said Edward Chan, a sociology professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

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“I think the father role portrayed by the movie in India is quite similar to the culture, especially the traditional culture in China,” Chan said.

Tansen Sen, professor of history and Asian studies at the City University of New York said, “It has a story that resonates with the Chinese, both with regard to parent-child relationship as well as the fascination with sports.”

And while some feminists see the father’s behavior as problematic, they also see much to applaud in the story. For those that do, the movie is seen as empowering women.

Two feminist groups, Jianjiao Buluo (Screaming Pepper Tribe) and Cheng Yusan (Orange Umbrella) treated a group of 120 people to a free screening of the film in Guangzhou.

Lu, a 20-something entertainment industry employee, says the movie piqued her curiosity towards India, a country with a population as large as China. Lu says that many young Chinese like her want to follow their own dreams and have the support of their parents.

“I feel the father’s support for his children was especially moving and that parent’s strictness toward their children is for their own good,” Lu says.

An elderly man walks past a poster of Bollywood movie Dangal, a 2016 Bollywood biopic on an Indian wrestling coach and his two professional wrestler daughters, outside a theater in New Delhi, India.
An elderly man walks past a poster of Bollywood movie Dangal, a 2016 Bollywood biopic on an Indian wrestling coach and his two professional wrestler daughters, outside a theater in New Delhi, India. VOA

The party-backed tabloid, the Global Times, slammed the movie for celebrating the values of a domineering father, who pushes his two reluctant daughters into wresting as a career choice. The paper said the film has sparked off a major controversy over different aspects of feminism in China, and whether modern day girls should completely reject the values of patriarchal society.

But the paper also quoted viewers who had a different viewpoint. “It made me think of my father,” the Times quoted one person as saying. “His reticent love for us. I wanted to call him, say nothing, just cry, and cry like a river to release myself from my deep regrets.”

Cao, a fan who says he has been watching Aamir Khan’s movies for years said there are not enough films like Dangal in the Chinese market. He said he admires Khan for his dedication to his profession (how he lost and gained weight) and the effort he put into addressing a social cause through the film.

“Just like people are saying online, he is influencing all of India as a country and all of its people,” Cao says “And I think that’s really great!”

FILE - Zhu Zhu attends the season premiere of the new Netflix series "Marco Polo" at AMC Lincoln Square in New York.
FILE – Zhu Zhu attends the season premiere of the new Netflix series “Marco Polo” at AMC Lincoln Square in New York. VOA

Next Bollywood blockbuster?

Another Hindi movie, Tubelight, is waiting to access the Chinese market. It features Chinese actress and singer Zhu Zhu, and the story revolves around the 1962 India-China war. Analysts are asking if Beijing will allow its entry given its reluctance to discuss this war publicly.

“The two governments should just let the people know each other through free-flowing exchanges and interactions. Sometimes this will result in negative perceptions and misunderstandings, but it will eventually lead to a more nuanced and balanced views of each other,” Sen added. (VOA)

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Diwali 2017: From Amitabh Bachchan to Aamir Khan, A-listed B-town Celebs attended Shabana Azmi’s grand Diwali Party

Shabana Azmi's Diwali bash was a grand celebration as all the big shots of Bollywood came to attend the party.

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Shabana Azmi's Diwali party
Shabana Azmi hosted grand Diwali party. Wikimedia commons
  • Actresses like Vidya Balan, Tisca Chopra, Sonali Bendre, Richa Chaddha were also present in the party.
  • Check out how these Bollywood celebrities were dressed for the Diwali party.

B-town Celebs like Sridevi, Amitabh Bachchan, Hritikh Roshan and Aamir Khan were present In the Diwali party

This year many famous celebrities like Ramesh Turani, Ekta Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Shilpa Shetty and Shabana Azmi has thrown lavish Diwali Parties. Beautiful faces dressed in Indian attires at these Bollywood Diwali parties made the festival of lights much brighter than ever before.

Talking about recent and Grand Diwali party, hosted by Shabana Azmi and Jawed Akhtar was one of the huge Diwali celebrations of Bollywood. Popular celebrity couples like Amitabh Bachchan- Jaya Bachchan, Aamir Khan – Kiran Rao, Vidya Balan -Kunal Kapoor, Sridevi-Boney Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor- Neetu Singh and Shilpa Shetty- Raj Kundra attended the bash. Also, famous celebs like Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Tisca Chopra, Sonali Bendre, Konkana Sen Sharma, Richa Chaddha and much more were present at the Diwali party.

Also Read: Diwali 2017: Shilpa Shetty hosts Pre- Diwali Party, Invited Salman Khan and B-towners

The list would have been longer but the same day Sanjay Dutt also hosted Diwali party due to which stars got divided into two parties. Look at some of the awesome pictures of B-Town Celebs attending Shabana Azmi’s Diwali Bash –

-prepared by Pragya Mittal of NewsGram | Twitter @PragyaMittal05

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China pays Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Celebrates Gandhi Jayanti in Beijing

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Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi

Beijing, Oct 02: China on Monday celebrated the 148th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, with the India Embassy in Beijing releasing commemorative postage stamps on the Ramayana.

Many Chinese nationals offered flowers to a statue of Gandhi at Beijing’s Chaoyang Park, while school children recited his famous quotes in Mandarin on a nippy overcast day.

“Gandhiji looked forward to a day when a free India and a free China could cooperate in friendship and brotherhood for their own good and for the benefit of Asia and the World,” Wilson Babu, Charge D’Affaires at the Indian embassy, said.

“Leaders of our two countries have been striving to build strong India-China relations based on Gandhiji’s ideals of world peace and respect for all human beings.”

In Shanghai, the Indian Consulate organised a series of events including a memorial lecture, screening of a documentary film and a painting completion for children of the Indian community.

Mahatma Gandhi has become increasingly popular in China, with many Chinese researchers studying his ideology of non-violence.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869, in Porbandar in Gujarat to Putlibai and Karamchand Gandhi. (IANS)

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Aamir Khan’s Upcoming Film”secret superstar”: one of his toughest roles

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Amir Khan - secret superstar
IANS

Mumbai, Sep 28 : Superstar-producer Aamir Khan, fondly known as Bollywood’s Mr. Perfectionist, says playing the colourful character Shakti Kumaarr in his forthcoming film “Secret Superstar” is one of his toughest roles.

Aamir tweeted a video on Thursday that showed how he transformed from the sincere and principled Mahavir Phogat from his blockbuster film “Dangal” to the outrageous Shakti Kumaarr for his role in “Secret Superstar”.

He also wrote: “One of my toughest roles!”

The video opens with singer-actress Monali Thakur, who features in the movie as herself, saying: “I am in love with his look.”

Actress Zaira Wasim, who plays Insia, comments on his “weird shoes and jeans”.

Her co-star Meher Vij says the beard is different.

The beard is the result of lots of trials and tests on various male team members.

Choreographer Sanya Malhotra calls the character an ill-mannered person who does not know how to talk to people.

Hair designer Avan Contractor promises that the character will definitely “make you laugh, he will probably piss you off and maybe even make you cry. It’s something he has never done before. It’s a very colourful character. We had a great time designing this look for him.”

Talking about the character played by Aamir, producer and his wife Kiran Rao says: “He is a music director who is having a bad time. Such characters are not written on a daily basis.”

Aamir is also seen getting himself clicked with girls. He says: “He flirts with girls also. Shakti has all the bad qualities that one can think of.”

The film’s writer and director Advait Chandan says: “In his (Aamir) personal life, he is very simple and organic. I think for him to wear tight T-shirts… even he had a good time.”

Aamir then emphasises on the importance of understanding the nature and thinking of his characters.

The video shows how much the team was involved in creating his look.

Aamir says: “I had a lot of fun because the character is very crazy.”

“Secret Superstar” will be out on October 19.(ians)