A Bollywood film about a father who trains his daughters to become world-class wrestlers has broken a box office record in China, where its focus on feminism and tough love has resonated with audiences.
“Dangal” has raked in 776 million yuan ($112 million) since it opened on May 5, official data showed Monday. Box office monitoring site mtime.com says this makes it the highest-grossing non-Hollywood foreign film in China.
Universal’s “The Fate of the Furious” holds the box office record in China for any film, raking in 2.7 billion yuan in receipts since its debut on April 14.
The Indian movie, directed by Nitesh Tiwari, is based on the true story of wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat, who defies the odds by raising his daughters Geeta and Babita Phogat to become champion wrestlers.
Geeta won a gold medal for India at the 2010 Commonwealth Games while her sister topped the podium at the same event in 2014.
“Dangal” is a Hindi word used to describe a wrestling competition. In Chinese the film’s name has been translated into “Let’s Wrestle, Dad”.
The movie was released in India on December 23 last year and quickly became the highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time, beating the 2014 science fiction film “PK”.
“Dangal” is believed to have made around $233 million in worldwide box office sales, according to industry estimates. It made around 3.87 billion rupees ($60 million) in India alone, analysts say.
Gender discrimination and strict parenting are among the themes in the film. The issues appear to have struck an emotional response with Chinese audiences.
Moviegoers praised it on social media site Weibo, highlighting its important lessons on rearing and educating children.
“A parent myself, I got some inspiration and enlightenment on child education after watching the movie,” said one user.
“It is also a story that motivates self-improvement for children.”
Another said: “I brought my parents and parents-in-law to watch it for the second time, and once again my cheeks were stained with tears.”
An opinion piece published in the People’s Daily, China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, said the film’s focus on “female rights” had also left a “deep impression on audiences”.
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