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Hindi Film Sparks Heated Discussion in China

The Indian film Dangal tells the inspirational story of a wrestler who trains his daughters to be world champions and has resonated with the Chinese audience

By Zhang Qingchen Updated May.24

The Bollywood film Dangal, Chinese title Shuaijiao Ba Baba ("Let’s Wrestle, Dad"), which tells the inspirational story of a wrestler who trains his two daughters to be world champions, has resonated with the Chinese audience. Though many Chinese in the field of sports have expressed their feelings from different perspectives.

In terms of athletes' training, according to male Greco-Roman wrestling coach, Sheng Zetian, this film reminds coaches to keep gaining professional knowledge and finding new strengths to make up for weaknesses; otherwise, the inappropriate guidance and training affects athletes' competitiveness. 

Li Shan, a leader of the Chinese national wrestling team, praised the movie as good publicity for wrestling, saying that it has been a surprise hit with Chinese audiences of all walks of life. 

Chinese critics and filmmakers have also expressed surprise at the success of Dangal and updated their views of Bollywood movies, and have encouraged Chinese filmmakers to pursue more changes and breakthroughs.  

Shi Hang, a film commentator, noted this sport-themed film challenges gender discrimination in the country and potentially shows the spirit of sport. With China’s progressive sport competition scene and fast-developing society, Chinese filmmakers have a large number of stories to explore and tell. Yet, they have yet to make a good-quality sports film, and Shi added that Dangal could be an example to press the Chinese film industry to focus on sports films and reflect how to make a good film.   

The similar idea was also supported by Peng Li, a professor of the School of Literature Journalism and Communication at Southwest Minzu University. Professor Peng stressed that currently film technique is not a difficulty; instead, the key to attracting audiences is good content. Chinese filmmakers need to learn how to strike a chord with the emotions of audiences.