bollywood movie, Chinese Cinema

Bollywood movie ‘Dangal’ dominates China’s box office

An Indian movie about two sisters who went into wrestling has become such a huge hit in China that even Chinese President Xi Jingping has professed to be a fan.

In a classy display of cultural diplomacy, Xi who met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) held in Kazakhstan, mentioned that he watched the Bollywood film Dangal and liked the movie and its actors, according to a Press Trust of India report.

The report also quoted Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar who said that Xi and Modi went on to discuss boosting cultural cooperation between the two countries.

Inspiring Storyline

The Chinese and Indian media has written extensively about the phenomenal success of Dangal in China, and the movie’s popularity was attributed mainly to the way the story and the characters connected with the Chinese on an emotional level.

The movie is set in the northern Indian state of Haryana, where the newborn sex ratio skews heavily toward boys. It is about a determined father in a patriarchal society, training two of his daughters to become world class wrestlers, after his wife gave birth to four daughters but no son.


Like millions of Chinese, Xi, who has one daughter may have enjoyed the movie, given its inspiring storyline that struck a chord with the them, as it resonated with their experience of living in a male-dominated society like India.

Highest Grossing Non-Hollywood Foreign Film in China

China only allows about four films a year from India, compared to 38 from Hollywood.

Dangal, known as Let’s Wrestle, Father (摔跤吧!爸爸) in China has earned almost US$170 million in China since its release there on May 5, making it the highest grossing non-Hollywood foreign film released in China.

The Nitesh Tiwari-directed Hindi-language film has also set several new Chinese records, including earning itself a spot at No. 20 to enter the list of China’s top 20 highest-grossing movies in history.

On top of that, it has made 52-year-old Indian actor Aamir Khan who already has a following in China based on his past movies a huge star in China:


His celebrity status in China has put him in a good position to promote cultural exchange between India and China.

Dangal continues to play in over 7,000 screens across China.

Meanwhile in Singapore, the movie is no longer showing in local cinemas.

But for those of you who want to catch a glimpse of the movie, you can watch the trailer below. Subtitles can be found here.

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