If the trailer of the new Jackie Chan starrer Kung Fu Yoga is anything to go by then the Indian cast which has been bragging all through 2016 about its great role in the film has much to feel embarrassed about.
The Indian cast seems as important to the film as chutney to a chow-mein dish. Throughout the playing time of the trailer all we see is Jackie Chan with a male Chinese co-star and Jackie with a lion in a car. Disha Patani shows up as an Indian princess , or the way Indian royalty is seen by non-Indian cinema. In boutique-borrowed exotica.
Sonu Sood who’s been giving the impression of Mr Chan as his best buddy busts the Jai-Veeru myth with his two-shot appearance in the trailer. It seems Sood has shot himself in his footage. And yes, he is very clearly cast in a villainous role, a fact that was revealed to me by the film’s erstwhile Indian production partners(who opted out) but denied by Sood.
And poor Amyra Dastur. I thought I caught a glimpse of her in a lion cage. I may be wrong. That could just be wishful thinking. For, honestly, there is very little we could expect from this tacky-looking product as far as Indo-Chinese relations are concerned.
That Indo-Chinese co-production Kung Fu Yoga directed by Stanley Tong is actually not an Indo-China co-production. The Indian production partners Eros International pulled out of the partnership following “serious creative differences” with the Chinese partners.
Apparently the Chinese producer Taihe were unilaterally changing the script and production set-up as soon as Jackie Chan came on board.
Kung Fu Yoga was signed as the first official co-production between India and China during the prestigious 1st International Silk Road film festival in Xian, China in 2014.As a result of this,the first official co-production between the two countries , the official co-operation treaty between India and China was signed when prime minister Narendra Modi visited China to meet President Xi Jinping.
Says an informed source, “The film produced by the Chinese company Taihe was to have Eros as the Indian partner. It was supposed to be a two-hero action film with Jackie Chan and Hrithik Roshan in parallel roles.As soon as Jackie Chan signed the contract the Chinese producers began making arbitrary changes in the production plan and the script, to the extent that Hrithik’s role became marginalized.”
This is when Hrithik Roshan opted out. And this where Eros Entertainment apparently decided to back out.
The year will see Bollywood actors(can’t call some of them ‘stars’) trying to make their presence felt in international cinema in three big films. It is pretty much clear in the trailer that Kung Fu Yoga has little room for Indian contribution.
But honestly, can we really trust a film called Kung Fu Yoga? It looks cheesier than Jackie Chan’s films normally do. Fingers crossed for Deepika Padukone in Return Of Xander Cage XXX and Priyanka Chopra in Baywatch.