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‘Monk Xuan Zang’ Set As China-India Co-Production

Bollywood major Eros Intl. and China Film Corp. will co-produce “Monk Xuan Zang.”

The film may be the first to be made using a bilateral co-production agreement between the two giant neighbors, which have until recently had only minimal film industry contact.

The movie is based on the life of a Chinese monk and will star Chinese actor Huang Xiaoming. It will be directed by China’s Huo Jianq. Details of budget, other casting and timing were not available.

The deal was announced in Beijing by CFC head La Peikang; Kumar Ahuja, president, business development for Eros Intl. Media; and Tong Gang, vice minister for China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. It comes at a moment when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a visit to the Chinese capital.

Along with next week’s release of Disney India’s record-breaking film “PK” and last year’s treaty signing, the production underlines a growing thaw in diplomatic and cultural relations between the countries. The warming trend was initiated by China’s President Xi Jinping last year, in response to Modi’s election.

Lured by the prospect of a hit in the world’s two most populous nations, numerous other China-India projects have been announced. But few have yet gone ahead.

The biggest joint production in recent years was “From Chandni Chowk to China,” a 2009 action comedy produced by Ramesh Sippy for Warner Bros. that was a major flop. It was directed by Nikhil Advani and starred Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone and Gordon Liu.

Others that remain on the drawing board include a project by Wong Kar-wai, adventure “Gold Struck” and “Kung Fu Yoga,” to be directed by Stanley Tong and produced by China’s Shinework Media and Taihe Entertainment and India’s Viacom 18.

The names of Shah Rukh Khan and Jackie Chan have frequently been discussed in media reports as being part of the films, but neither superstar appears firmly attached to any of the projects.

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