Loving an imaginary India | world | Hindustan Times
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Loving an imaginary India

With the 1962 war long forgotten, it’s Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai on the streets of Beijing, finds Neelesh Misra.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2008 01:51 IST
Neelish Misra

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.