Bollywood may pave path for warmer ties

  • Zia Haq, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 18, 2014 01:43 IST

Aamir Khan-starrer Dhoom 3, which has earned over Rs 500 crore worldwide, was screened across 200 theatres in China in July this year, a sign of the popularity that Indian movies command in the neighbour-ing country.

Now, Bollywood is set to become an exciting new avenue for New Delhi to boost ties with Beijing. Cooperation in films forms a key part of a packed diplomatic agenda for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s three-day trip which began Wednesday.

Here’s the backstory behind the new foreign-relations soap opera: Mainland China is India’s second-largest film market, after the US. Indian films, popular among Chinese, bring in precious foreign exchange. For instance, 3 Idiots, a Bollywood hit, had earned Rs 11 crore in China.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for “exceptional synergy” between the two neighbours, the external affairs ministry has cleared a proposal from information and broadcasting ministry for a joint production agreement with China for the first time.

The joint production agreement will allow Chinese producers (who work for Hollywood projects) to outsource post-production to Indian studios. Indian producers will be able to shoot in places like Shanghai, which have long been on their wish list.

A Chinese production house is currently set to make the first Chinese film with a Bollywood flavour, The Golden Truck.

China has kept itself isolated culturally and even limiting the number of foreign films it allows. Each year, the Chinese government allows only 34 foreign films to be screened publicly. Out of these 34, India is allowed to sell five films to the China Film Group Corporation (CFGC).

The joint agreement is the first step to ramp up cooperation in show biz, including distribution of each other’s cinema, an official said.

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