Bollywood star Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan is set for a wide release in China, opening in over 8,000 screens, when it bows March 2, timed with the Chinese Lantern Festival holiday weekend.
The 2015 hit film, co-produced by the actor’s banner Salman Khan Ventures, was distributed by Indian film entity Eros International, which said that the title will be released in China by E Stars Films.
The film’s release aims to cash in on the strong performance of some recent Bollywood releases in the Middle Kingdom, most notably those featuring Aamir Khan whose latest, Secret Superstar, recorded a strong opening in China over the weekend collecting $27 million.
Aamir Khan’s popularity in China has been growing since the 2011 release of his runaway hit comedy 3 Idiots followed by 2015’s PK, which told the story of an alien (Khan) who lands in India and ends up questioning religious dogma and traditions. For the Chinese dubbed version, actor Wang Baoqiang (Lost in Thailand, Personal Tailor) voiced Khan’s character. Last year, Khan again delivered a box-office sensation in female wrestling drama Dangal, which grossed a hugely impressive $170 million in its four weeks in China, considered an unprecedented overseas number for an Indian film. Beijing regulators also gave the movie a rare 30-day screening extension.
Directed by Kabir Khan, Bajrangi Bhaijaan will be the first Salman Khan film to release in China. The film revolves around Bajrangi (Khan), an ardent devotee of the Hindu deity Hanuman, and his arduous journey to reunite a six-year-old Pakistani girl — who somehow gets lost in India — with her parents back in her hometown in Pakistan.
“There is high expectation and curiosity for the film post the success of recent Indian releases in China and the positive word of mouth Bajrangi Bhaijaan enjoys,” said E Stars Films CEO Allen Liu, adding, “We anticipate tremendous potential in this beautiful drama starring one of the most popular actors in Indian cinema in a film that speaks the language of emotions like courage and hope which are universal.”
E Stars had earlier handled the China releases of PK and Dangal.
Eros is also developing India-China co-productions via its Trinity Pictures banner, with the working titles The Zookeeper, to be directed by Kabir Khan, and Siddharth Anand’s cross-cultural romantic comedy Love in Beijing.