Aamir Khan alongside Liu Guoliang, former coach of China's national table tennis team. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
Hindi film Secret Superstar, which stars Aamir Khan in a supporting role, makes more money in China within days of its release than it did in India.
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan's Secret Superstar earned more in China within days of its release than it did in totality in India.
Khan's latest film topped China's box-office charts for five days since Jan 19, raking in around 250 million yuan ( million).
Although the 150-minute film is longer than the usual length of films most Chinese moviegoers are comfortable with, its story won over many local fans.
Reviews from netizens have accumulated in high scores on popular websites, such as 8.0 points out of 10 on Douban and 9.5 on the box-office tracker Maoyan.
Set in Vadodara, a large city in the western Indian state of Gujarat, Secret Superstar centers on Insia Malik, a 14-year-old Muslim girl who strives to realize her dream of becoming a singer, with the support of her mother. Her father disapproves of her ambition and habitually hits her mother.
Teenage actress Zaira Wasim, who debuted in Khan's earlier movie Dangal, which is among the top movies of all time in the Chinese box office, plays the protagonist in Secret Superstar, while Khan plays a quirky pop musician who helps the girl realize her dream.
Most Chinese netizens say they shed tears watching the film despite the story seeming cliched as it unfolds with a series of easy-to-guess plot twists.
"It's a typical Khan production. The story looks like a follow-up of Khan's television talk show Satyamev Jayate (Truth Alone Triumphs) and his daughter-themed films," says the netizen Qingtong Xiaoshou, whose review has been marked as "useful" by more than 1,000 people on Douban.
"Khan again proves his charm. The movie is very entertaining and thought-provoking."
Aamir Khan plays ping pang with Liu Guoliang. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
Satyamev Jayate is Khan's television show that has aired in India since 2012 and focuses on the country's social issues, such as child sex abuse, gender violence, "honor killings" and domestic violence.
For most Chinese industry watchers contacted by China Daily, Secret Superstar is predicted to maintain a good position at the box office, thanks to the word-of-mouth praise and marketing.
Since last week, director Advait Chandan along with Wasim have toured cities on the mainland to promote the movie, followed by more hyped promotional events by Khan this week.
In Beijing, for example, Khan discussed the movie with Chinese critics and played an exhibition table tennis match with Liu Guoliang, a world champion, on Tuesday.
As the former coach of China's national table tennis team, Liu once organized athletes to collectively watch Dangal, when they were trained for the World Table Tennis Championships last year.
Advait Chandan (left) promotes the movie in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, during his nation-cross road show. (Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn)
With an astonishing box office taking of nearly 1.3 billion yuan, Dangal, a biographical drama about a former wrestler, has become the highest-grossing non-Hollywood film in China ever.