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Friday, Oct 18, 2019

Aamir Khan’s romance with Chinese audience turns sour after Thugs of Hindostan flop show

Aamir Khan’s popularity in China seems to be waning after Thugs of Hindostan’s poor showing in the country, both critically and commercially.

bollywood Updated: Jan 03, 2019 13:12 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif in a still from Thugs of Hindostan.
Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif in a still from Thugs of Hindostan.

Indian actor Aamir Khan’s popularity among Chinese moviegoers has undergone a reality check following the lukewarm response to the movie Thugs of Hindostan from both audiences and critics in China.

It had a poor opening on Friday and until Thursday had made less than $8 million, much below expectation.

The movie’s flop show is also a reality check for Indian film directors and producers eyeing the massive Chinese box office: Indian movies that are likely to do well here need a believable storyline that can connect with the audience here.

Precisely the reasons why 3 Idiots, Dangal and Secret Superstar famously clicked in China. And, precisely why Khan’s Dhoom 3 had failed to excite audiences after it was released in China in July, 2014.


Thugs’ failure this time was certainly not for lack of trying on Khan’s part to popularise it in China. The Indian superstar landed in China almost two weeks before the movie’s release and went on a multiple-cities tour to dip into his fan base and publicise the movie.

“From South to North, from East to West, he had visited a number of key Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Xi’an, Nanjing and Shanghai. He even spent Christmas Eve with Chinese moviegoers for the movie’s Chinese premiere. He used various ways from taking selfies with fans to showing his Chinese handicrafts to please Chinese audiences,” the tabloid Global Times said in an article headlined Thugs of Hindostan failed to attract Chinese audiences.

The movie was panned on Chinese movie sites. “…on Chinese movie sites Douban and Mtime, it only got 6.2 and 6.6 out of 10, the lowest rating among all of Uncle Mi’s (Aamir Khan) movies,” the report said.

Some users on the sites who gave out one star of five claimed that it was a “waste of time to watch this movie”, “such a bad movie that even Indians don’t like it, how can you expect the Chinese to love it” and “knockoff version of Pirates of the Caribbean.”

“He (Aamir Khan) couldn’t save the fate of such a bad movie with his fame. It is hard for Chinese audiences to echo on some plots in the movie due to lack of the knowledge of Indian history. Besides, the bad reputation in India has more or less brought some influences to Chinese audiences,” an anonymous movie critic said in the report.

Not all opinions, however, were entirely negative.

Wuya Huotang, a veteran Douban reviewer and blogger, wrote in a review posted on both Douban and WeChat in which he gave the film four out of five stars.

“The reviewer explained that even though Thugs of Hindostan is not a ‘good film,’ it is not a complete failure as a film. He attributed the extreme low grades on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes to the sites’ large number of Indian moviegoers, who prefer to see straightforward battles between a hero and a villain instead of Khan’s role in Thugs of Hindostan, which switches back and forth between hero and villain,” the reviewer said.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

First Published: Jan 03, 2019 13:12 IST

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