Indian thriller 'Piano Player' set for China release
By Nadeem Gill

A Bollywood musical thriller is all set to hit the big screens in China, which is emerging as a vital market for Indian mainstream movies, the filmmakers announced.

"Andhadhun" in the local language, the movie will be titled "Piano Player'' in China. The release date is yet to be finalized. 

Directed by Sriram Raghavan, it was one of the most talked about Bollywood thrillers last year. Starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte, the movie has been met with widespread critical acclaim.

A still from "Andhadhun." /Photo courtesy Viacom18 Motion Pictures

A still from "Andhadhun." /Photo courtesy Viacom18 Motion Pictures

The film recounts the story of a presumably blind pianist, played by Khurrana, who saw a desperate small-time actor-turned wife disposing of her husband's body. 

Although many Indian films have been screened in China, it will be the first time for Raghavan to have his film released in this big market. He said he is excited to present the film to a new audience. 

He said in a statement that he visited China 10 years ago and saw that the 1971 Bollywood musical classic "Caravan" was being played on a big screen in a cafe in Beijing. 

It was dubbed in the Chinese except for the songs, he added, saying he was told the film was a favorite among the generation. 

"Caravan" is now set to be screened at the upcoming Hainan Island International Film Festival (HIIFF) in China, Xinhua quoted India China Film Society (ICFS) as saying last week.

The festival will open on March 23 and will conclude on April 16 in the city of Sanya.

Raghavan said he is looking forward to seeing the Chinse audience's response to his musical thriller.

Indian Entertainment Companies Eros and Viacom18 Studios have partnered with Chinese distributor Tang Media Partners to screen "Piano Player'' in China.

Viacom18 Studios' COO Ajit Andhare said he is excited about the film's prospect at the Chinese box office and "celebrating what is a major first for the studio."

"China, being a home to many Bollywood lovers, has made 'Andhadhun' one of the most anticipated releases. Fans in the country can now witness the magic of 'Andhadhun' unfold in theaters across the country," Kumar Ahuja, President of Business Development, Eros said in a statement. 

Tang Media Partners' Kevin Tang said "Andhadhun" would be the first Indian movie in the thriller genre to be released in China.

A poster for "Badhaai Ho". /Photo courtesy of Junglee Pictures

A poster for "Badhaai Ho". /Photo courtesy of Junglee Pictures

Khurrana is known for out-of-the-box movies. Last year, his film "Badhaai Ho," which some critics dubbed a surprise hit was praised for its quirky subject that revolves around an elderly couple expecting a child.

His debut film ''Vicky Donor'' about a sperm donor, was a big success in 2012.

Bollywood has slowly made its way to the Chinese market, and one of its stars, Aamir Khan, is fondly known as Mishu in China. His movies like "PK" (2014), "Dangal" (2016) and "Secret Superstar" (2017) have been favorites among Chinese moviegoers.