Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #134 - Sudden Success of Bollywood Movies in China - An Analysis

Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #134 - Sudden Success of Bollywood Movies in China - An Analysis
“this satsangh?’ You just drop that. You don’t have to get anything, okay? You don’t have to benefit from this. Just waste half a day and go. (Laughter) Really. ‘What should I get out of my meditation?’ Nothing. Just waste fifteen-twenty minutes every day. So do not meditate; just learn to waste some time. Nothing needs to happen. This is not about resting; this is not about becoming healthy; this is not about becoming enlightened; this is not about reaching heaven. All this is just wasting time. When you are not trying to be anything, not trying to get anywhere, you are being.”  ― Sadhguru, Himalayan Lust

A spiritual journey is not about information or knowledge.  For, whatever you will know mentally is one, predicated on your conditioning and second, on the capacity of our senses.

The spiritual journey is to experience the Truth.  To be free of the limitations of the physical existence and experience the completeness of the cosmic reality.  The infinite.  Just as the knowledge of joy does not lead you anywhere near to being joyful (after all Freud and Robin Williams committed suicides!), similarly knowledge of the existence as a researcher doesn’t help you experience the beauty and extent of its vastness.

Words cannot substitute the actual experience and understanding in real terms.  Mental gymnastics sometimes seems to make one feel as if one is making leaps on a spiritual journey, but the fact remains that one is merely rearranging prejudices.  That was my realization after years of contemplation and the intellectual quest of Spiritual pursuits.  It is only when I was sure that there is nothing gained from mental rearrangements, that I was ready to be guided.

But how does one find one’s Guru?

You cannot.

For someone who has never known what Yellow color means or looks like, how can he ever look for and find a Yellow room?!

Guru is not a person.  It is not a he or a she.  Such pronouns have been used in this article merely for convenience.  Guru is the quality of this existence.  Quality of self-realization. The ignorance and its anti-dote – the realization – are in-built into existence.  What one focuses on, manifests.

So when you focus on seeking the infinite, the knower of the infinite appears.  When you focus on well-being, the knower of well being appears.  When you focus on material wealth, the knower of material wealth appears.

The Guru you seek depends on the quality of your seeking and the intensity of your focus.

Today is my Guru’s day of enlightenment and I bow down to him and his lineage of Gurus.

On September 22nd’s debate, Arnab made an interesting observation, which he did not take much further.  How is it that so many Bollywood movies are suddenly making a lot of money in China?

The question he asked is an important one.  So we decided to look into it ourselves.

How are Bollywood movies suddenly so successful in China?

In the past few years, these 10 Bollywood movies have been the greatest grosser in the Chinese market.

What one finds interesting is how the figures stack up.  Between Secret Superstar and Dangal - Aamir Khan as a producer - garnered 60% of all earnings in China from the top 10!

Now what is most interesting is that Aamir Khan movie - Secret Superstar, and Ayushmann’s Andhadhun earned most of their money from China as opposed to any other country.  In fact, Andhadhun’s Chinese earnings were close to 5 times the earnings from the rest of the planet, including India!

analyzing Ayushmann’s sudden Chinese jackpot and political activism

Interestingly, since the success of Andhadhun, you would see Ayushmann Khurrana has become more vocal about his politics.

He supported the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and interestingly talked in “hypotheticals” (“students should not resort to violence”), when it was clear as to what they were doing as they burned buses and indulged in violence.

It is the responsibility of the government to make sure that whatever changes they want to implement is communicated well. There should not be communication gaps between them and the students. If they think that the minority is feeling insecure in our country then the government should address that. We always feel that the government either appeases Muslims or makes them insecure. Why can't we come up with a middle ground?  (Source)

This was his tweet.

While talking about his movie Article 15, he says:

What is intriguing is that BR Ambedkar’s writing hit Ayushmann only with respect to “casteism”, but not Islam?

This is from BR Ambedkar’s landmark book on partition “Pakistan or Partition of India

So, why is it that Khurrana would be so besotted by Ambedkar on one part of his ideas, while he wouldn’t as much as go out on a limb on another?

The truth perhaps is Khurrana doesn’t as much as give a rat’s arse about Ambedkar.  Sadly.  He has an ideology to peddle.

When you look at the collections for Andhadhun (his most successful movie to date), which got over 75% of its total global collections ONLY from China, you start wondering at the curious happenstance. (Source)  Figures are in Rs crore.

Well, it can very well be argued that this could really be the legitimate popularity of a movie amongst the Chinese.

are cultural stars constructed?

To which we must ask and probe into the question - does that really happen on its own?  Or is there a special activity happening behind the scenes?

For that, let’s check on Yuri Bezmenov’s passing reference to his work in India on Raj Kapoor.  The man who became a rage in the USSR and other Soviet bloc countries.

Yuri Bezmenov shared how they worked on Raj Kapoor to push him to great fame in USSR (and probably other countries in the Soviet Bloc). (Source: Yuri Bezmenov - A love letter to America)

This was written in 1959! The accuracy of this description oi OUR  activity stunned me. We had just completed 'helping a gaggle-head-  ed' Communist entertainer, Yves Montand to 'prominence' in  Moscow and were halfway through with publicly elevating 'obscure'  Indian filmmaker — Raj Kapoor to 'fame'. The editorial offices of  Novosti were teaming with 'sleazy' foreign singers, poets, writers,  artists, musicians and 'intellectuals' coming to my country for sup-  port in their 'progressive struggle'against their own 'decadent capita-  list' societies ...

Some folks who loved Raj Kapoor may be offended when Yuri calls him as “obscure” Indian filmmaker.  Well, you have to understand this statement from a Russian standpoint and not an Indian’s.

Akira Kurosawa, for example, is one the greatest director ever in the history of world cinema.  He is from Japan.  How many in India know him?  Or watch his movies.

Would it be an exaggeration for an Indian to say that Kurosawa is an “obscure filmmaker” in India?  Despite being one of the cinema greats!

The point is - it’s not about who that director is in his own community or society but in the target country.  In USSR, Raj Kapoor was obscure.

That is what the Soviets worked at.

In fact, it is said that when Raj Kapoor landed in Moscow in 1954 - without a visa no less, the Soviet authorities allowed him to pass through immigration without issues!  Is that normal?  In those times would it have been possible without the intervention of the top politburo authorities?

analyzing success of Dangal

Even Aamir Khan’s movies - Dangal and Secret Superstar - seem to have earned a substantial percentage of earnings from China.  Dangal, which was called a hit got over 61% of its earnings in just China!  Secret Superstar got 83% earnings from China!

Does that sound strange?  I mean, how many cinema screens were carrying that movie in China?  More than India?

The film was shown on an estimated 4,300 screens in India and 1,000 screens internationally.

The Chinese Yuan to Indian Rupee conversion in 2016 was a little over 10.

Now, that becomes very interesting suddenly.  In China, it should have opened to around 500 screens! The average cost of a movie ticket is $6 (Source)

Now let us look at what Rs 1305 crore from China really means?  This is a real quick back of the envelope calculation. Days for the earnings (Source) were roughly over a few weeks, not years!  So let us say that the earnings happened over a period of 4 months, where there were 3 shows a day in halls which always were houseful.  We are looking at a situation where just China would have contributed to 850+ screens out of the 1000 screens overseas!  And, we are being very generous!

Isn’t it something that we should look at - the incredible, nay almost unthinkable and impractical level of success for the Bollywood movies in China.  Not the Telugu or Malayalam or Bengali movies - but Bollywood movies?  Too good to be true?

strange alliances and bed-fellows

Last year, in April 2019, the Chinese company E Stars which was promoting Indian movies in China created a tie-up with Kwan Entertainment, the Talent Management company which has come under the scanner of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) due to the activities of its employees in drug peddling.

One has reasons to believe that this cultural intervention by China started in the real earnest from PK onwards.  Just look at the earnings below.  PK earnings from China, Pakistan, and the Arab States (basically UAE/Dubai) were almost half of what it earned in India.  And, given the number of cinema halls in India versus these countries, that would indeed be huge!

And, many may not remember but Dr. Subramanium Swamy did raise a red flag on this very movie when he said that ISI had intervened to make it a success.

"I don't give importance to the statements made by Aamir Khan. I know this fact that he had collaborated with the Pakistan's ISI to promote his movie 'PK'. He has still not come out with a clarification," Swamy told ANI.  Swamy, known for not mincing his words, had earlier questioned funding of  PK during its release. Swamy has alleged that PK's Dubai leg of promotion has been funded by a company called ARY, which allegedly has terror links. To bolster his claim, Swamy has even retweeted a picture where ARY Digital features prominently in the backdrop where the stars are sitting. (Source)

The larger question is - was that only in collaboration with the ISI or also with the Chinese?

nota bene

Strategy for the China war: The deployment of at least 50,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh and in the occupied Aksai Chin region, apart from heavy weaponry and missiles, is indicative of the Russian influence not only on Chinese military equipment but also in war planning and execution, according to a top Indian Air Force (IAF) officer.  The officer, who dissected the Chinese positioning and war plan in a worst-case scenario for HT on condition of anonymity, said that a Chinese offensive, if and when it comes, is likely to involve troops moving forward under a barrage of artillery and rocket fire, with surface-to-air missile batteries giving protection to their weapon systems from IAF attacks. “This is the old Soviet way of fighting a war, with troops based in-depth areas (in this case, Hotan airbase 320km from the Line of Actual Control) providing the air-defense cover,” the officer added.  (Source)

Successful test of Laser-Guided Anti-Tank Missile: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on Wednesday, successfully testfired Laser-Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) from the main battle tank (MBT) Arjun. The test was conducted at the KK Ranges in Ahmednagar, which houses the Indian Army's Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S). DRDO said that in these tests, ATGM successfully defeated a target at 3 km.  (Source)

Financial success leads to loneliness: Researchers at the University of Buffalo and Harvard Business School say the stress to keep succeeding cuts many people off from the world around them.  The findings show social networks and personal relationships play a major role in maintaining positive mental health. Preserving those connections while trying to achieve challenging goals is key.  (Source)

India and Israel in WW1: On September 23rd, Israel celebrates the Haifa Day. During that day, Israelis pay tribute to Indian soldiers who played a major role in liberating Haifa from the Ottoman rule during WW1. Indian soldiers are lauded in Israel textbooks for freeing Haifa from Turks. But in India, people hardly know about this Battle. (Source)

Indian Civilization - the Untold Story

Dr. Raj Vedam, (MSEE, PhD) is an engineer with applied mathematics, engineering, algorithms, and computer science background. Using tools of Archeo-Genetics, archeoastronomy and archaeology, and evidence of knowledge transfers from ancient India, Dr. Vedam shares a credible thesis with verifiable facts, on the antiquity of the Indian Civilisation, and the many discoveries made by the ancient Indians.

His talk is very interesting.  We have discussed some of these things in our Caste related newsletter some time back.  Dr. Vedam, however, shares a very informative perspective which I highly recommend.

Support Drishtikone

If you consider our work important and enriching and would like to contribute to our expenses, please click on the button below to go to the page to send in your contribution. You can select the currency (for example, INR or USD, etc) and the amount you would like to contribute.

Contribute to Drishtikone

If you like this post - please share it with someone who will appreciate the information shared in this edition -

If you like our newsletter, please share it with your friends and family -

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Drishtikone - Online Magazine on Geopolitics and Culture from Indian Perspective.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.