Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
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Chin Chin Choo!

Bollywood films, once a big draw in China, seem to have missed the beat

Chin Chin Choo! Vidurajung Bahadur

"The first Indian film I saw was Awara. I watched the songs, the dances, the beautiful actress Nargis; and I thought to myself then, 'how wonderful the world is,'" says Ge Su, his eyes crinkling up. A director of a multinational consultancy firm in Beijing, Ge Su begins to drum his fingers on the polished table of the swanky conference room, and hums "abala gu...hmmmm."

I nod my head encouragingly and join in, "awara hoon...hmmm." It's a familar moment. One that repeats itself with soothing regularity: in taxis, over jasmine tea sipped in courtly tea houses, and while wolfing down Big Macs under gleaming golden arches. Hindi films are the only association that the average Chinese person has with India.

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