Bollywood’s ‘Dangal’ sets new benchmarks for success abroad

Source:AFP Published: 2017/6/29 18:23:39

Bollywood star Aamir Khan's hit wrestling movie Dangal has become the first Indian film to make 20 billion rupees ($310 million), analysts said Wednesday, as the film continues to take Chinese cinemas by storm.

The Hindi movie's record-breaking run has set a new and previously unthought of box-office benchmark for Bollywood films abroad while also highlighting the value of the Chinese audience to Indian filmmakers.

"Dangal has crossed the 2,000 crore mark [20 billion rupees] which has never been done before," said Indian film trade analyst Ramesh Bala, pointing out that previous top Bollywood grosser PK made just $120 million.

"Even 1,000 crore was a distant dream just a few months back. The bar has now been set very high," he added.

Dangal, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, is based on the true story of wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, who defies the odds by training his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat to become wrestling champions.

Geeta won a gold medal for India at the 2010 Commonwealth Games while her sister topped the podium at the same event in 2014.

Dangal is a Hindi word used to describe a wrestling competition.

The movie was released in India on December 23, 2016, and quickly became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, beating the 2014 science fiction film PK, which also stars Khan.

Gender discrimination and strict parenting are among the film's themes.

The issues appear to have struck an emotional response with Chinese viewers, who have alone contributed around $190 million to Dangal's takings, said Bala.

"Dangal has become the highest-grossing non-Hollywood foreign film released in China," the analyst noted.

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