China bats for diversity, to work ‘more closely’ with India in cinema

Kolkata, Nov 12 (IANS) Despite the call for boycott of Chinese goods from some quarters in India, its government is keen to collaborate “more closely” with the Indian film industry for the benefit of the two south Asian nations, Chinese government officials said here on Saturday.

“It is only a small proportion of people who do not want to see the increase of exchanges between India and China. It is in the benefit of both nations. Though there are differences between the nations, the shared cultures far outweigh the differences. I hope more and more people realise the exchanges will help both nations,” Chinese Consul General Ma Zhanwu told the media here.

In 2014, India and China signed an audio-visual co-production treaty to bring the film industries of the two neighbours closer.

China’s official pick for the 89th Academy Awards is “Xuanzang”, a result of the co-production agreement. It stars Indian actors Sonu Sood among others and has been extensively shot in Daulatabad Fort in Aurangabad.

Notwithstanding the increasing Chinese footprint in Hollywood with regards to investments and acquisitions, China is all for diversity, said the country’s Deputy Director General of Film Bureau Zhou Jiandong at the 22nd Kolkata International Film Festival.

“We prefer diversity. We are dedicated to collaborations with all filmmakers across the board, including Indians. Chinese and Indian cinema is close because of the culture. We are looking forward to more close collaborations,” said Zhou.

China in 2014 and 2015 imported the films “3 Idiots” and “PK” from India.

However, it is a blank slate for 2016 so far.

“We have not decided which films to import. We are starting with the showcases bilaterally (Indian films screened in China and vice versa),” he added.

China is the focus country at the KIFF this year. The fest is organised by the West Bengal state government.

The Chinese delegation said Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, also Bengal’s brand ambassador, has evinced interest to visit the country.