Jackie Chan in India: 'I Want To Be the De Niro of Asia'

Jackie Chan arriving in New Delhi for the inaugural Chinese Film Festival.
Jackie Chan arriving in New Delhi for the inaugural Chinese Film Festival.
 

NEW DELHI -- Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan is ready to change gears. “I used to enjoy action; now I enjoy acting,” the 59-year-old icon said at a press conference Tuesday in New Delhi where he inaugurated the six-day Chinese Film Festival.

The inaugural event is organized by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals and opened with a screening of Chan's latest film Chinese Zodiac.

“Action stars have a shelf life. Actors go on till 70 or 80. I want people to say Jackie is a good actor who can also do action. I want to be the Robert De Niro of Asia,” Chan said.

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Responding to the inevitable question about considering a Bollywood film, Chan said he hoped “Indian directors give me good roles and don't just ask me to fight (on screen) ... I am a pretty good actor and not just a fighter.” And then with a smile he added, “Also, I can sing and dance. Tell your producers that.”

Chan has visited India before and worked with Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat, who appeared in his 2005 film The Myth.

“I shot the film for a month here. During this period, I watched a lot of television and was impressed with all the singing and dancing [in Bollywood films],” Chan recalled.

Citing 2009 comedy blockbuster hit 3 Idiots, starring actor Aamir Khan, as one of his favorite Bollywood films, Chan said, “I loved the music of 3 Idiots. I think Indian films have the best choreography in the world. So many good Bollywood entertainers were never really introduced to the world. I feel not enough global promotion is done for your films.”

Chan was accompanied by Chinese film producer Han Sanping and the leading actresses of Chinese Zodiac, Zhang Lan Xin and Yao Xingtong. The inaugural ceremony was also graced by India's minister for information & broadcasting, Manish Tewari and Chinese minister of state administration for press, publication, radio, film and televison, Cai Fuchao.

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When asked about how India and China could work together, Chan said: “We are here for collaborations. I like cooperation, but the script is very important. We need good Indian writers to write about China and Chinese writers to write about India. We need a good producer to make a good Indo-Chinese film. [If both countries can work on a joint project] we will make one version for India and the other for the rest of the world.”

Commenting on the planned musical version of the actor's memoirs I Am Jackie Chan: My Life In Action, the actor explained, “The musical will have no dialog, so it is universal. We will definitely release it in India.”

As for his other potential projects, Chan said he was waiting for the script of The Expendables 3. “I will ask Sylvester Stallone if I am in or out,” he said.

When asked about the recent political tensions between India and China following a stand-off in the border regions of Ladakh, Chan offered a message of peace: “India and China have been neighbors for thousands of years, so why not be friends? In fact, we should love each other -- why hate each other? Through films we need to promote peace.”

Rounding off his session, Chan was cheered along as he sang a Chinese song about his love of the country.

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