One of the best-known Indian stars in China, Aamir Khan, appeared at a Beijing forum on Tuesday along with the cast and crew of his latest film Secret Superstar to talk about the future of film with Chinese filmmakers.
Hitting Chinese mainland cinemas on January 19, Secret Superstar topped the Chinese weekend box office and has raked in some 345 million yuan ($53.9 million) so far.
The Indian film celebrity received a huge welcome from fans when he arrived with Secret Superstar director Advait Chandan and lead actress Zaira Wasim at Tuesday's Red Carpet for Aamir Khan and His Friends event and the following Chinese-Indian Film Forum.
Held by State-run China Central Television's (CCTV) movie channel, the event was also attended by a large number of well-known Chinese directors, stars and film critics, including mainland producer Yu Baimei and Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Tong, director of the 2017 Chinese-Indian coproduction Kung Fu Yoga starring Jacky Chan.
Talking about Secret Superstar's box-office success in China at the forum, Khan said that the film might have resonated with Chinese audiences, especial young woman who have dreams like the film's Indian heroine because of its human and emotional core.
Chandan weighed in, saying that while he was making the film, he never imagined it would be received so well in China.
"Usually when we talk about going global, we try to tell a story that relates to everyone," Khan noted.
"But actually we should think the opposite. If we tell a story about your own neighborhood, maybe just about a street, it might relate more to the audience because people like to see different cultures, different characters from different parts of the world."
"Khan's films have made quite a splash in China probably because China and Indian as neighbors share many similarities in when it comes to social development," said Yu at the Chinese-Indian Film Forum.
Even though China seems to out rival India when it comes to the size of the film market, Chinese filmmakers still have a lot to learn from their Indian counterparts when it comes to making films, Yu noted.
Tong, who previously had his The Myth (2005) and Kung Fu Yoga set in India, expressed his love for Secret Superstar, saying he was moved to tears by the Indian stars' genuine and honest performance in the film.
Approaching the end of the event, Khan also showed off his ping pong skills by playing several rounds with Liu Guoliang, China's former top ping pong player.
The two exchanged gifts after the game. Liu received a guitar, while Khan was presented a paddle signed by a number of Chinese ping pong champions.