Life of Pi Arouses Indian Interest among Chinese
Boats at Pondicherry on the Bay of Bengal [Image: 24th Century]
Oscar winning director Ang Lee's Life of Pi - with its Indian motif and actors - has opened a rare and recent window about Indian culture among the Chinese. And the Chinese, it seems, love it.
The movie and its recurring Indian themes - including the Bengal tiger and the city of Pondicherry where Pi played by Suraj Sharma is born and brought up - are buzzing on China's microblogging sites.
The movie is currently playing on 4,420 digital 3D screens and over 80 IMAX screens across China. Not only the first tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, it's also playing in second and third tier cities.
According to Fox China, which has distributed the movie here, 'Life of Pi' generated over 100 million Yuan (over $16 million) in revenue in the first week and is ranked as the number one movie in the country.
A search on Life of Pie on Sina Weibo (the most popular of China's Twitter-like sites among similar avatars) throws up a good 50 pages on the movie with many net users on the pages discussing Indian culture.
Xu, in her '20s and working for, Youku, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube said that after watching the movie she was making "plans to visit next January."
According to Fox China, the movie has generated a buzz about India here.
"Many in the local audience especially female viewers are attracted by the beautiful, colorful scenery of India in the film," Fox China - it had released My Name is Khan in China before - told HT over email.
Leer Cheng, who works for CNEX Foundation that promotes independent film and documentaries, said her company would soon release four documentaries made by Indians on the web.
Not only in China but the movie is creating interest about India in neighbouring Taiwan - Ang Lee is Taiwanese - as well.
Pradeep Kumar Rawat, the highest ranking Indian diplomat based in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, said the India-Taipei Association will launch "Life of Pi" tours to India in December.