Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

3 - A Still Frozen Fraternity? India-China Film Co-productions in a Cold War Context

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Kadamba, Lower Ground Floor

While films like Awaara (1951) and Caravan (1971) have rich histories of reception in China, it is only recently that the country has emerged as a profitable distribution territory for Indian cinema. With the massive success of Dangal (2017), Indian-Chinese co-productions and crossover projects are announced with ever-greater frequency. In stark contrast to a long history of neglect in the promotion of Indo-Chinese cinema exchange and reigning infrastructural inadequacy, the financial arrangements for these projects have been put in place over the past five years. In June 2013, soon after Chinese Premier Li Kiqiang visited India to discuss bilateral relations, plans for a possible coproduction treaty and a relaxation of the import quota were discussed at a Chinese film festival in New Delhi. An India-China coproduction treaty was signed the following year, designed to facilitate entry into each other’s markets. 2014 saw a number of Indian and Chinese production houses entering into memoranda of understanding to coproduce films. This paper looks at the varied terrain of co-produced and crossover Hindi cinema in China, putting these initiatives within the larger historical context of enduring Cold War tensions between the two regional Asian powers. Placing these new configurations in historical context. I argue that recent films like The Zookeeper, Xuan Zang, Kung Fu Yoga, and Love In Beijing can be seen as belated acknowledgements of this Cold War history, demonstrating the possibilities and pitfalls of interdependency for both Indian and Chinese cinemas.


Nitin Govil

University of Southern California, United States

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