BOL­LY­WOOD TIME FOR EAST ASIAN WOMEN

Chi­nese ac­tor Zhu Zhu makes her de­but with Sal­man Khan; and a Ja­panese will be cast by Im­tiaz Ali

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Prashant Singh

This Eid won’t just see the third col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Sal­man Khan and film­maker Kabir Khan on Tube­light (af­ter Ek Tha Tiger and Ba­jrangi Bhai­jaan), but also an Indo Chi­nese al­liance of sorts, as Sal­man is paired with Chi­nese ac­tor Zhu Zhu in the film.

Tube­light mak­ers did an “ex­ten­sive cast­ing call across var­i­ous cities, in­clud­ing Bei­jing, Los An­ge­les, and Hong Kong” to find a fe­male lead. “I liked Zhu Zhu im­me­di­ately,” says Kabir, “as she has a strong screen pres­ence and is a fan­tas­tic ac­tor. Sal­man and she will make an in­ter­est­ing on-screen cou­ple.”

Then, an Indo-Ja­panese pro­duc­tion ti­tled Love in Tokyo, to be co-pro­duced by Im­tiaz Ali and di­rected by his brother Arif Ali, will have an In­dian male star and a Ja­panese fe­male lead. A con­tem­po­rary love story, the film will be “al­most en­tirely” shot in Ja­pan, from the sec­ond half of this year.

While a num­ber of for­eign ac­tors from Brazil, UK, US and Aus­tralia have worked in Bol­ly­wood ear­lier, Far East­ern or South­east Asian stars have rarely made their way into Hindi films. One in­stance was the cast­ing of Thai ac­tor Lena Chris­tensen in 2008; she starred op­po­site Shreyas Tal­pade in Nagesh Kukunoor’s Bom­bay to Bangkok.

About the con­nec­tion, Im­tiaz ex­plains, “We in the Asian coun­tries are quite alike. Al­though we eat West­ern food and wear West­ern clothes, our val­ues are very East­ern. So, there are a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties [be­tween the cul­tures] but the lan­guages are dif­fer­ent. Also, we can re­late to the same emo­tions.”

Zhu Zhu says, “I was deeply touched by the spirit of the film, and I’m thrilled to have this op­por­tu­nity to work with Sal­man Khan. Kabir is not only a bril­liant film­maker but through his films, he talks about hu­man­ity, love and or­di­nary peo­ple’s lives that ev­ery­one in the world can re­late to.”

PHOTO: ETI­ENNE OLIVEAU/GETTY IM­AGES

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/ RONJAFORCHER

Ronja Forcher

Saba Qa­mar

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