Hear this: AkshayKumar's 'Toilet: Ek Prem Katha' takes number one spot at Chinese box office

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Whoever imagined the Chinese would take to a film rooted in the Indian ethos and dealing with the country’s open defecation problem, of all things! In the surprising but heartening news, the Indian dramedy, Toilet: A Love Story/Toilet Hero ( Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) came out on top during one of the slowest weekends of the year so far at the Chinese box office.

The film, which is the first China release from Global Road Entertainment, which licensed the title from its Indian investor Reliance Entertainment, earned $9.1 million from Friday to Sunday. It actually beat back the competition from the holdover romantic comedy How Long Will I Love U with $8.5 million, to take first place.

Hindi cinema’s winning streak in the Chinese film market continues to cause amazement in industry circles. Ever since the blockbuster Dangal garnered $190 million last year, the huge Chinese film market has continued to show the love to Indian film imports.

RECOMMENDED READ: AKSHAY KUMAR THANKS CHINA FOR BIG OPENING TO TOILET HERO!

Directed by Shree Narain Singh, the film was renamed Toilet Hero (Cesuo Yingxiong) for the China market. Starring Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar in the lead, it tells the story of an Indian man who manages to win back the heart of his newlywed wife by building an in-house toilet for her, as opposed to continuing with the trend of open air defecation. The film was inspired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Clean India Movement, a campaign to improve sanitary conditions in the country.

In more good news for the film, which blends an important public service message with entertainment, Toilet received a recommendation from none other than Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder and philanthropist showed his support for the film on Chinese social media service Weibo, writing that it “lets viewers see India's progress in environmental hygiene,” and that he was “very glad to hear that this movie was released in China.”

For those interested in the film’s graph at the Chinese box office, it had opened in second place on Friday behind Black Water, a B-movie action flick. While Black Water flowed downhill at the box office, Toilet’s business increased mostly due to positive word of mouth. The film had been first screened at the Beijing Film Festival in April.

This proves that content-driven films are forging real connections and sparking growing interest in China over the past two years, as seen in a slew of films like Secret Superstar, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and 3 Idiots. May the trend increase!

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