Chinese fans’ love toward Aamir Khan takes a tumble after divorce announcement
Published: Jul 04, 2021 07:13 PM

Aamir Khan Photo: VCG

Aamir Khan Photo: VCG

Massively loved and supported by Chinese moviegoers, Indian actor-director Aamir Khan recently fell into a whirlwind of both support and scorn among many Chinese netizens after news of his divorce hit the internet in China.

Khan and his wife, filmmaker Kiran Rao, announced their divorce after 15 years of marriage in a statement, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday. According to the statement, the couple will co-parent their son Azad Rao Khan and will still cooperate on professional projects.

Some Chinese fans focused on the fact that this is the star's second marriage to end in divorce. His first marriage, to film producer Reena Dutta, lasted for 16 years before coming to an end in 2002.

The announcement has somehow cast a shadow on the positive image of caring about social issues Khan has enjoyed in China over the past few years. Some of Khan's fans said that they cannot accept the truth that their "screen hero" has again divorced after "projecting a loving husband-and-wife image to Chinese fans."

Some netizens, although shocked by the news, still show their support for Khan, a representative of Bollywood for many Chinese fans, saying that "the marriage is a personal matter that outsiders should not care much about it."

"They've been doing movies and charity work together for a long time. I believe Rao and Khan are still friends after the separation. We should respect their choice to be together or not," said another netizen, "just wish them the best."

The massive attention to the announcement stems from Khan's deep connection with Chinese fans, which started as early as 2011 when his phenomenal film 3 Idiots was first screened in the Chinese mainland. The movie gained a high review score of 9.2/10 on Chinese media review platform Douban. 

Adored by Chinese fans as "Uncle Mi," the original connection between Khan and China continued to grow after 3 Idiots as a series of movies tackling Indian society and disadvantaged groups such as women and children set off an frenzy among Chinese moviegoers.

China spokesperson Hua Chunying once revealed that she had watched Khan's 2016 film Dangal, which boasts a high score of 9.0/10 on Douban and earned an impressive 1.2 billion yuan($180 million) in the mainland.

Khan was also hailed a great deal by Chinese fans when he came to China to promote his movie Secret Superstar in 2018. This was just one among several trips to the country that he would make over the next few years.

When it was released in the mainland in 2018, the movie, produced and starring Khan, earned more in the market in two days than its entire box office in India, according to media reports. The film's final mainland box office of $124 million was nine times that of its Indian take.

"If more Khan movies are introduced to China, I recommend that the titles should be translated into names such as Movie — Starring Aamir Khan, instead of something else," joked one netizen on social media.

Global Times

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