Jackie Chan embarks on an Indian adventure

By Xu Fan | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-01-12 07:32

The Hong Kong star's latest action-comedy, Kung Fu Yoga, in which Chan stars as an archeologist in a Sino-Indian coproduction, will hit mainland screens on Jan 28. Xu Fan reports.

Jackie Chan is taking his adventures to a new level. In his latest movie - in which he drives a car carrying a lion in the back seat - the big cat is not computer-generated. The very real predator is owned by Dubai's royal family.

Chan plays an archeologist who seeks a lost treasure using an ancient map in the action-comedy Kung Fu Yoga.

The movie, which is one of three Sino-Indian coproductions being made as a result of an agreement between the two countries, will be released on Jan 28, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

 Jackie Chan embarks on an Indian adventure

The upcoming Sino-Indian coproduction Kung Fu Yoga features (clockwise from top left) Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan and Indian actress Disha Patani; veteran Indian actor Sonu Sood and Hong Kong actor/singer Aarif Lee. Photos Provided to China Daily

The film's trailer featuring the lion "passenger", which was released on Jan 5, has garnered millions of clicks on major video-streaming sites, making Kung Fu Yoga one of the most-anticipated films of the profitable Spring Festival holiday.

Chan, who has starred in more than 100 films and been involved in at least another 100, is very popular globally for his unique blend of action and comedy. But this forthcoming title is more than just another Chan-style action comedy.

In September 2014, China and India signed a groundbreaking agreement on coproducing films, in a bid to bring the two major movie powerhouses together.

It yielded results in May the following year, when China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, and the Indian embassy in China announced plans for three jointly produced films.

Kung Fu Yoga is one of the three films. The other two are a biographical feature of Xuan Zang, based on the seventh-century monk's pilgrimage to India, and Buddies in India, comedian Wang Baoqiang's directorial debut. Xuan Zang was released in April and Buddies in India will also premiere during the upcoming Spring Festival.

Of the three films, Chan's movie is expected to make an impression in India as the star's early Hollywood blockbusters - Rumble in the Bronx (1995) and Rush Hour (1998) - made him a well-known name in the country. Also, Chan's profile in India was boosted when his 2005 fantasy epic The Myth was filmed there.

Disha Patani, an Indian actress in the film, says: "In India, most young people have grown up watching Chan's action movies. He is very famous in India. For me, it's like a dream come true to work with him."

The popularity of Chan's action films means that many Indians believe most Chinese can perform martial-arts stunts like the actor, says Amyra Dastur, an India model-actress who also has a role in the film.

Both the actresses - Patani, who plays an India professor assisting Chan, and Dastur, who plays her sister - say that the film is their first Chinese-language movie.

The flick also features veteran actor Sonu Sood, who has starred in more than 60 Bollywood productions.

As for the commercial prospects of the film, Chinese filmmakers believe it will make a splash in both markets.

"Kung fu is a symbol of China, just like yoga is of India," says Stanley Tong, the Hong Kong director who helped make Chan famous in Hollywood.

The new film sees them teaming up again after Rumble in the Bronx, Police Story 4: First Strike and CZ12.

Speaking about the challenges faced in making the movie, Tong says: "It is a bit difficult to mix two cultures. I read a lot of ancient books, especially on cultural communication in the Tang Dynasty, which inspired me."

Giving details on the other aspects of the movie, Tong says the film features scenes shot in Iceland and Dubai. Most of Chan's action films offer visual feasts.

"My job was to make this (action film) more creative and different."

Also, using his personal connections with Dubai's royal family, Tong borrowed several animals, including the lion, from them, besides some very expensive sports cars.

For Chan, however, the movie is all in a day's work. "I love to be on a film set. It's my amusement park. I always have new ideas and realize my dreams when I am there," the 62-year-old says.

On the sets, Chan is said to always lead by example, whether doing stunts, choreography or just being environmentally aware.

Seeing Chan picking up discarded bottles and using paper towels sparingly on the sets was an eye-opener for the two Indian actresses.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Shen, founder of Shinework Media, one of the film's Chinese producers, says the movie will enhance links between Chinese and Indian filmmakers.

He says that the film will be released in around 500 cinemas in India.

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Jackie Chan embarks on an Indian adventure

(China Daily USA 01/12/2017 page7)


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