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Bollywood reels under coronavirus after-effect

China is an important market for the Indian film industry.

February 26, 2020 / 05:37 PM IST

Like every industry and sector, Bollywood has also been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

In the past few years, China has emerged as a lucrative market for the Indian film industry.

But due to the epidemic, as many as 70,000 theatres have shut down in that country.

"The coronavirus outbreak has affected the Indian box office vis-à-vis the Chinese market and also other markets like Hong Kong and Taiwan. The release of Indian movies have now been put on the backburner. Local Chinese releases have also been put on hold. It is a big dampener for the film business," film and trade business analyst Girish Johar told Moneycontrol.

Another expert Atul Mohan said all plans for Indian film releases are on hold till Easter.

China became the largest international market for Indian film content in 2018, accounting for highest collection in the overseas region at Rs 1,950 crore, according to a report by EY. From two releases in 2016 to 10 in 2018, Indian films registered massive growth in the release cycle.

In 2018, Akshay Kumar's Padman finished its theatrical run in China with collections of Rs 71.67 crore in 31 days. Kumar’s another offering in the Chinese market, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, amassed Rs 97.2 crore.

As for last year, Andhadhun, that hit Chinese theaters in April, minted around Rs 330 crore. Other ventures that did strong business in China last year was Mom (Rs 113 crore).

The Rani Mukherjee-starrer Hichki also scored a century at the Chinese box office.

The first Bollywood movie to achieve the Rs 100 crore feat in China was Aamir Khan-starrer PK. Other Bollywood flicks which did well were Secret Superstar, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Hindi Medium.

Foreign markets contribute as much as 30 percent to 40 percent to overall India box office business, pointed out Johar. And the Chinese territory is witnessing substantial growth.

In 2018, Bollywood raked in Rs 3,000 crore from foreign territories, a 20 percent growth from 2017.

But box office is not the only aspect that is getting affected by the coronavirus. It is also hampering the production schedules.

According to reports, as many as five films have seen a change of location from China to countries in Europe and Central Asia. Three Bollywood offerings, one Tamil and a Telugu movie which were scheduled to be shot in China and Hong Kong will see a change of venue due to the outbreak.

Maryam Farooqui
first published: Feb 26, 2020 04:32 pm