Indian film Dangal a hit in China

Bollywood star Aamir Khan (back row) stars in hit movie Dangal, which has become the highest-grossing Indian film.
Bollywood star Aamir Khan (back row) stars in hit movie Dangal, which has become the highest-grossing Indian film. PHOTO: DANGAL

MUMBAI • Even Chinese President Xi Jinping has told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he enjoyed the film.

Dangal, the wrestling movie starring Bollywood star Aamir Khan, is still winning the fight at the China box office after it started its run there on May 5.

According to Forbes, it has become the highest-grossing Indian film with more than US$300 million (S$414 million) in takings so far - US$189 million comes from China alone.

It is also the fifth non-English language movie to breach the US$300-million mark in worldwide box-office receipts.

The previous top Bollywood grosser, PK, made US$120 million worldwide.

Dangal, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, is based on the true story of wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, who defies the odds by raising his two daughters to be champion wrestlers.

It is a departure from the syrupy romances and action flicks with colourful song-and-dance sequences from Bollywood, reported Reuters.

Instead, it highlights the realities of the fight for gender equality in India.

The "ideas of breaking gender roles and reforming education inspired by the film have struck a chord with many Chinese parents", the official Xinhua news agency said.

Dangal was released in India on Dec 23 last year and quickly became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, beating the 2014 science-fiction film PK, which also stars Khan.

It also sparked a conversation on gender bias in the country, which has a ratio of 933 women to 1,000 men.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2017, with the headline 'Indian film a hit in China'. Print Edition | Subscribe