Indian movie 'Chhichhore' to be released in Chinese mainland during New Year season, seen as a product of easing bilateral tensions
Published: Dec 15, 2021 11:25 PM
Poster of Indian movie '<em>Chhichhore</em>'Photo: Douban

Poster of Indian movie 'Chhichhore' Photo: Douban

The 2019 Indian comedy movie Chhichhore has received a release date of January 7, 2022, in the Chinese mainland. The first Indian movie to come to mainland cinemas in two years, the film is being seen by experts as a product of easing relations between China and India.

"The film's launch is probably the product of a detente between China and India, reflecting the trend of cultural exchanges between the two countries, just like the release of South Korean film Oh! My Gran," Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

However, he said that the box office of the Indian movie is not optimistic.

The arrival of the movie has been hailed by some Chinese netizens because its director Nitesh Tiwari produced Dangal, the wrestling film starring Aamir Khan that set a record for Indian movies in the Chinese mainland by grossing $193 million in 2017.

Set in two time periods, the 1990s and 2019, Chhichhore tells the story of a middle-aged divorcee whose son Raghav tries to commit suicide out of fear that he will be called a "loser." Raghav survives, though he is in critical condition. His father decides to tell his son about his own experiences being a "loser" as a young man in 1992 in the hopes of encouraging his son to hold onto life. 

Some netizens commented after watching the film's trailer that it seems to be another motivational work similar to Dangal, adding that they hope it can be as touching as the hit sports film.

Shi predicts that the movie will gross around 10 million yuan ($1.57 million) in the mainland as it was originally released in 2019 and so many lovers of Indian films have already seen it. He also noted that the film only has a 7.2/10 on Chinese media review platform Douban from 130,000 reviews, much lower than the 9/10 enjoyed by Dangal.

"Currently, only 857 users have clicked the 'Want to Watch' button on ticketing platform Maoyan, while 1,031 users have listing it as a 'wanted movie' on Taopiaopiao," Shi said.

Indian movies went on a hiatus in the Chinese mainland after June 2020, when a group of Indian soldiers breached the agreement and set up a military tent in Chinese territory, according to a report from Haike News. Four Chinese frontier soldiers sacrificed their lives in the following deadly Galwan Valley border clash to protect China's territory, enraging the Chinese people.

The Indian movie is not the only film to benefit from easing tensions between China and other countries. South Korean movie Oh! My Gran hit theaters earlier in December, breaking a six-year long drought of South Korean movies in the market caused by increased tensions between the two nations. 

While Indian movies are making their way back to the Chinese mainland market, Marvel superhero films are still nowhere to be seen. Spider-Man: No Way Home and Venom: Let There Be Carnage have still not received a release date for the Chinese mainland.