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Bollywood actor says content is key for Chinese film success in India

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-06-03 07:05
A poster of Indian film Andhadhun, starring actor Ayushmann Khurana (right) and actress Tabu. The film was warmly received in China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Indian film actor Ayushmann Khurana said Chinese movies would also do well in his country, while more and more Indian movies are tasting success in China.

"You just have to have good content. India is full of Chinese goods, most of India's imports come from China, Chinese mobile phones, its cars are doing well in India, so movies will also do well," he says.

Khurana's latest film Andhadhun, one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time, produced on a budget of $4.6 million, has grossed $64 million at worldwide box offices, including $48 million in China.

Speaking about the response of Chinese market to Andhadhun, Khurana says "it was quite a surprise".

"That kind of number was unbelievable, I had no idea that we will get this kind of reception in China, it was overwhelming for sure," he says.

Andhadhun is a 2018 Indian black comedy crime thriller, telling a story of a piano player who accidentally becomes embroiled in the murder of a former film actor.

At the Screen Awards ceremony, the film won in four categories, including best director and best screenplay. It also won five Filmfare Awards, including best film (critics) and a best actor (critics) win for Khurana.

The success of Andhadhun has firmed his belief that the film goes beyond the barriers of borders, culture and language.

"I have realized that content will always rule in China," he explains. "Some concepts will appeal to any culture or any region."

Referring to preparations for his role as a blind pianist, Khurana says he had spent almost three months studying for it.

"I went to a blind school and I had a teacher who was partially blind. He taught me how to walk, how to use the cane, how to be careful of the objects around me. Then I met a blind pianist. I used to watch him every day. The way he used to touch the piano, mark his center and then play ... Acting is all about observation," he says.

Born in 1984, Khurana, who made his film debut in 2012, has become an established, award-winning Bollywood player.

Khurana adds that a good movie should resonate with the people.

"The mark of good film is that it should create value and bring about change in an entertaining way. The underlying part is the entertainment. So I think it is important to carry your message through entertainment."

Khurana believes that his upcoming two films, one based on a gay love story and another centering around going bald, will resonate with the audiences both in India and China.

"I always like to do unique films. Masala films may go out of fashion one day, but content will never go out of fashion, so you have to stick with content and uniqueness. That is key in every film," he says.

However, he says it has never been easy to try something new in Bollywood.

"It is always difficult. You hardly get good scripts. It is always a risk to take a subject which is a taboo and which people are slightly uncomfortable talking about. So, it is very difficult to make a rounded script that is more palatable for people and makes it more accessible for the audience. It is not easy for sure, but what is life without risk."

Following the great success of the film Andhadhun, Khurana is keen to visit China for his forthcoming films.

He notes that he would like to visit the Chinese mainland, such as Beijing and other places.

"Chinese are similar to Indians, as they are rooted to their culture and tradition at the same time," Khurana says.

He says he also appreciates the support of the Chinese audience.

"I just want to thank them for liking and loving Andhadhun. That kind of reception was unbelievable. It is beyond our expectations and it also makes us believe that we must stick to our ground and only do content-driven films."

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