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Loving an imaginary India

world Updated: Aug 24, 2008 01:51 IST
Neelish Misra
Neelish Misra
Hindustan Times
Loving an imaginary India

Housewife Li Bo once used to run the projector for Chinese soldiers, screening Hindi films they loved watching at their military base.

“Oh, I know a lot about India,” the tall 53-year-old says, beaming as she talks through an interpreter at her home in the history-rich, narrow-laned Nanchizi neighbourhood in the centre of downtown Beijing.

“I have a very good impression of India. I think Chinese people are very friendly towards India,” she said, as a furry spaniel sauntered aimlessly around her feet. Children giggled. “I know it’s true of all my friends and family also.”

The usual suspect comes up within a minute.

“I love Indian films — and all the dancing,” she said, twirling her waist and moving her arms in her make-believe Bollywood moment.

“I still buy CDs of Indian films if I can,” Li added. “I think I like Indian films the most among all the films I see — Korean, English, everything.”

Li’s son, a photographer, works in Australia and just got a permanent residency. She aims to travel there frequently now. Her son’s best friend, an Australian bachelor — is crazy about only one thing: he (seriously) wants to marry an Indian woman.

Li knows of an imaginary India she has seen through Bollywood — a country where every woman has big eyes and wears lovely make-up, and where men are so jolly they dance every day on the streets.

“I know nothing about the Indian IT industry,” she said, to the disappointment of the interpreter. “But I think India’s medicine system is very developed.”

How do you know that, have you tried any Indian medicine, the reporter asked. “No, I have seen it in the Indian movies,” Li retorted with authority.