Education-themed Bollywood film 'Hindi Medium' strikes a chord with China’s anxious parents | Entertainment News | SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

Education-themed Bollywood film ‘Hindi Medium’ strikes a chord with China’s anxious parents

Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One may be dominating China’s box office at the moment, but Bollywood film Hindi Medium has been quietly making a splash in the world’s second-largest market. In its first week, the movie grossed over $21.5 million (135 million RMB). Its opening in China is the second-best for Bollywood films, behind only Secret Superstar and ahead of Dangal, currently the highest-grossing Bollywood movie in China’s box office history.

Hindi Medium focuses on a middle-class couple’s torturous and comical journey to send their child to one of the most prestigious schools in Delhi. In order to secure their five-year-old daughter a spot in a private school, the family first moves to a higher-class neighborhood in the city. Their attempts to enroll her into the school, however, are thwarted when the father fails the school interview. In a mad bid to grant his daughter admission, the family decides to relocate to a poverty-stricken section of Dehli to qualify for a quota that private schools grant to socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. In a great reversal of events, the family now has to pretend to be destitute for the scheme to succeed.

The movie’s treatment of anxieties surrounding children’s education has resonated with many of China’s parents, many of whom worry about their children’s performance in school and their prospects in life. The movie currently has a high 8.1 rating on Douban, with many reviews and comments applauding the movie for its entertaining yet incisive portrayal of an ossified educational system. Much like Dangal and Secret Superstar, Hindi Medium’s box office success in China can be credited to the movie’s powerful depiction of social issues that are relatable to Chinese audiences because of cultural similarities. Dangal tells the story of female empowerment in an oppressively patriarchal society, while Secret Superstar grapples with gender favoritism and the tension between individual aspirations and familial expectations. All three Bollywood movies deliver stories that are socially relevant to Chinese audiences, while also reaffirming the importance of family and filial love, a theme that is an integral part of China’s Confucian culture.

Hindi Medium’s respectable performance at China’s box office comes at a time when Hollywood films seem to be becoming less of a draw for Chinese audiences. While in previous years, Hollywood productions have captured as much as 50 percent of the country’s ticket revenues share, recently, Hollywood films seem to be losing out to domestic productions. Since last year, Chinese audience’s tastes have also become markedly more diverse, and their demand for non-Hollywood foreign imports has grown, leading to record-breaking performances by movies like Dangal or last year’s breakout Thai film Bad Genius.

‘Black Panther’ struggles at Chinese box office, but not because of its ‘blackness’

Pang-Chieh Ho

Pang-Chieh Ho is currently an editor at Digg. She previously worked at China Film Insider as a newsletter editor and has been writing reviews on movies and pop culture since 2014.

2 Comments

  1. Mehtasaab Reply

    China got tired of Action. Romantic and comedy movies from Hollywood. If you watch any Hollywood movie, you will find gun violence, Sex and dirty language. You don’t see that in Bollywood movies. Also Bollywood give you one more thing that is Songs and dance. If you go to nay party in Europe, Middle east, Africa or Asia, people always play Bollywood songs and love to dance. Gun problems are only in US not in China, India or any other countries.

  2. neobooper Reply

    China love over sentimental melodrama which what Bollywood usually delivery and they love the running hours for Indian movie (min 3hours), it feels like they are saving money while getting entertain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.