Among the 3 Khans (Sharukh, Salman and Amir), Amir’s name usually takes the third place in India. However, in China, Amir Khan’s popularity surpasses all others. Chinese media calls him “India’s conscience”, “Guaranteed Sales” to film distributors and even Male God. Amir Khan, however, can be embarrassed with the calling of his name – fondly referred to – “Uncle Aamir”.
What can be a bigger honor for Amir Khan is the fact that he stands right next to Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel laureate, in terms of popularity.
- Amir Khan’s latest film, Secret Superstar, is a 150 minute film and is the most profitable film ever
- Production cost of this film is US$2.4 million, where in China alone the film is expected to gross over US$98 million
- In one week, it grossed over US$46 million in China alone
- Even some of the Hollywood mega hits like Cameron’s 2010 Avatar could not match Amir’s film
- Secret Superstar is the latest in a string of recent hits that included 2009’s 3 Idiots
- Khan’s first foray into the China market was Lagaan in 2003
Amir Khan is the ambassador of India as a soft power to China. China still has an iron curtain in terms of media information entering the country. Even their social media is highly regulated and censored. The source of the information dissemination in China is largely through state run media.
Therefore, it is natural that India is portrayed in poor light as we stand like an adversary to them and a potential competitor and fellow emerging power.
In this context, Amir Khan stands as a goliath to uphold the soft power image of India and a likely source of amity between the two nations.
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China is the second biggest market for movies and capturing Chinese market by Indian films is no mean achievement.
“[Before Khan], Chinese audiences were not that into Indian movies,” said Wu Lixiang, who runs Beijing-based website Entertainment Capital.
And while not everyone would agree with him, even for many Chinese who admit to disliking India, hostility is no longer 100 per cent.
“Generally speaking, I do not have a good impression about India because of the Doklam stand-offs,” said Stray Mao, an insurance salesman in Hangzhou.