A common factor between two Indian films -- Secret Superstar and Hichki -- that worked well in China, was the presence of a strong female protagonist
Indian films found another international market to show their might when Dangal tasted success in China. However, the Chinese audience has a few reservations when it comes to films from India.
Big screen spectacles, unbelievable story lines and too much Bollywood touch is not clicking with the Chinese audience.
Movie-goers in the country are looking for more realistic cinema from India. And that’s why Rani Mukherjee’s Hichki is doing wonders in China whereas Salman Khan-starrer Sultan was a no-show.
Hichki may have started its China run on a slow note with Rs 5.67 crore. But, it witnessed a turnaround over the weekend. The first weekday was also a different story. On the second day of its release, the film more than doubled its business with Rs 12.81 crore and maintained the momentum on day three.
But the film’s weekday performance shows how much love the Chinese audience is showering on the film. Hichki achieved a rare feat when it collected more on weekday in comparison to its first day revenue which was a Friday.
Hichki’s human connect is taking the film places, beyond China. The film, that tells the story of a teacher who suffers from Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder, has already found appreciation in overseas markets like Russia and Kazakhstan.
The film's inspiration came from Brad Cohen's autobiography ‘Front Of The Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me The Teacher I Never Had’. It is also set to release in Taiwan and Hong Kong on November 2 and 8, respectively.
So why is Hichki clicking with the Chinese audience? One factor could be the presence of a strong female protagonist. The 'women's empowerment' theme and women taking the lead is a formula that has worked before.
In an earlier interview to Moneycontrol, Amit Sharma, Managing Director (MD) of Miraj Cinemas had said, "if the success of previous films is taken into consideration, there has been another common thread -- a strong female protagonist. Even for Dangal, it was the theme of women empowerment that struck the right chord with cinema lovers in China."
Among the films that have released in China, only Secret Superstar and Hichki have women as central characters.
Hichki also received a standing ovation at the Shanghai International Film Festival.
Since Dangal, one thing has become increasingly become clear that human stories have an easier way to travel to China. The films that have both good and universal content have worked well in China, not the blockbusters.
There was a time when only big-ticket films showed potential in China. Films backed by big studios starring popular actors witnessed success in the country. China was also another territory for already successful Indian films to see more growth offshore.
But this has witnessed a change over the last two years. Films that had an average performance in India did exceptionally well in China. For example, Secret Superstar. In India, the film earned Rs 80 crore, but in China it minted Rs 175 crore within three days of its release.
Plus, small and mid-size films are now getting the opportunity to connect with the Chinese audience. Few films in this category include Hindi Medium, Secret Superstar, Hichki with an investment of Rs 23 crore, Rs 45 crore and Rs 20 crore, respectively.