Indian actor Aamir Khan is sealing his major-celebrity status in China with cinema of social relevance.
Aamir Khan was in China last week to promote his latest Hindi film Secret Superstar. During his weeklong stay, first in Shanghai and then in Beijing, the Indian actor also found out that he has become a major celebrity in a country where Bollywood’s reach has been traditionally limited.
The surprising rise in popularity of the 52-year-old Bollywood star is owing to his cinema of social relevance that Chinese moviegoers don’t get enough of from their own industry as well as his savvy marketing and China outreach. At more than 1 million, Khan has the most followers for an Indian on Sina Weibo, the country’s Twitter-like platform.
Secret Superstar had made more than 400 million yuan ($63 million) earlier this week. The story of a teenage Muslim girl’s fight against ugly patriarchy to realize her dreams was released in China on Jan 19.
In 2011, Khan’s work first got major attention from Chinese moviegoers with Three Idiots, which was released in India much earlier. A statement on India’s orthodox education system, with parallels in China, the Hindi film resonated with the local audience. Film critics and fans alike recommended it to their friends.