Why are Indian films doing well in China?
With more and more Bollywood films performing well in China, we try to understand this sudden rise in popularity.
For the longest time now, Chinese products have flooded the Indian markets. Lately it seems that Indian films are doing exceedingly well in the Chinese box office. It started with the enormous reactions towards Aamir Khan starrer Dangal. The Indian movies released before the Aamir Khan starrer never got such a huge response. Consequently, more and more movies were released in China after the massive success of Dangal.
Two Indian films were released in China in 2016 and one in 2017 but 2018 saw 10 films from India being screened here, the report by Maoyan, the largest online ticketing service in the country said.
Here are three reasons why Indian films do well in China:
Difference in Ticket prices
The average ticket price in India is equivalent to 12 yuan. On the other hand, the ticket prices in China range from 50 to 100 yuan, which is equivalent to 500 to 1000 rupees.
The movie Secret Superstar accounted for 700 million yuan in China, while in India it amounted to only 80 million yuan. This is because of the cheaper ticket rates in India in comparison to China. China has the world’s most movie screens and continues to build new cinemas. Chinese companies opened 9,303 new screens in 2018, bringing its total to 60,079 nationwide, the Xinhua reported.
Padman director R Balki while promoting his film in China said, “Hugely popular Indian movies often focus on conservative rural practices also helps them appeal to the Chinese who, having their own share of traditional values hindering urban progress, are accustomed to films with a social message.”
Recently, the Indian films that have made a mark in the Chinese market include the likes of Dangal, Secret Superstar, Padman, and Hichki. These films have a rural setting with inspirational stories. Movies like PK and Andhdhun had an engaging plot and good reviews, which helped them do well at the box office in China.
The films that have gained immense popularity in China have a rural setting or address issues that are of concern mainly to rural people.
Talking about the influence of Indian culture in China, a Quora user wrote, “Apart from this, with the development of India-China relations, more Chinese are willing to understand Indian culture. I noticed more friends of mine are taking classes of yoga, Indian dances. And many of the Indian restaurants in big Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai are packed. Not just in first-tier cities, I even found two great Indian restaurants in Yangshuo, a town in the southwest of China. So I believe Bollywood movies will get more popular in China because our cultures interact more nowadays.”
Popularity of Indian celebrities
Aamir Khan was first introduced in China with the 2001 film Lagaan. However, he got a wider appreciation and fan following with the release of the 2009 film 3 Idiots. The film managed to earn Rs 50 crore in China, which at that time was a huge amount. Experts said the subject of the film, which dealt with the gaps in the education system, resonated with the audience in South East Asia and China, leading to a roaring collection.
His popularity only added to the success of his films Dangal and Secret Superstar. His portrayal in Dangal of a determined father who trains two of his daughters to be wrestling champions led to widespread glowing reviews on Chinese internet forums.
However, even his popularity did not save the disastrous film ‘Thugs of Hindostan’. The film that tanked in India had a tough time in China as well.
On the other hand, Salman Khan who enjoys an enormous fan following in India has a large number of followers in China. His film Bajrangi Bhaijaan, did extremely well at the box office in China, earning nearly Rs 300 crores.