Beijing International Film Festival: Aamir Khan to Promote New Film, Korean Exclusion Not Political

India’s most bankable star looks to continue his winning streak in China, and Korea’s entertainment industry is still waiting by the stage door. 

One of Bollywood’s biggest stars is on his way to China to promote his new film, and a Chinese film official has stated that the absence of Korean titles at the Beijing International Film Festival is “not political.”

Bollywood idol Aamir Khan is looking to replicate the record-breaking success of his movie Dangal in China, now India’s all-time box office champion and number two all-time overseas draw. Khan’s films now hold the top three slots on Bollywood’s all-time box office performers.

While India has been a popular backdrop for Chinese films of late, including Chinese New Year/Spring Festival releases Buddies in India and Kung Fu Yoga, and China’s 2016 Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film nominee Xuanzang, the films are proving more popular with filmmakers than with audiences. While Buddies and Kung Fu were successful, their setting in India was tangential to their box office take.

Other Khan films including Three Idiots have been released in China, but none have performed on a par with popular American or Japanese movies. Dangal reaches Chinese cinema screens on May 5.

Elsewhere, a Beijing International Film Festival official said there was no link between recent political friction between China and South Korea and the absence of South Korean films at this year’s event.

“The collection of films is oriented to the whole world, without preference for any particular countries. So it is a collection and presentation of excellent films from the world,” Ai Dongyun, vice secretary general of the festival organizing committee, told the Associated Press. Ai added: “It was not a political decision.”

If it is not a political decision, it would be a coincidence that films not only missing from the festival are also absent from local cinemas. Restrictions on South Korean entertainment, including films, pop music, and television dramas, have been in unofficial effect since at least August 2016. Their wildly popular TV shows and musical acts have been noticeably absent from Chinese airwaves and arenas.