I nod my head encouragingly and join in, "awara hoon...hmmm." It's a familar moment. One that repeats itself with soothing regularity: in taxis, over jasmine tea sipped in courtly tea houses, and while wolfing down Big Macs under gleaming golden arches. Hindi films are the only association that the average Chinese person has with India.
Yet, over the last few years, there has been little noise and virtually no action to actively promote Indian cinema here. The 21st century has witnessed the ripening of Sino-Indian relations. The new emphasis has been on economic pragmatism, so that even as talks to resolve the touchy border disputes saunter along at a cautious diplomatic pace, trade volumes between India and China are predicted to touch $10 billion by the year-end. However, as Tarun Das of the Confederation of Indian Industry puts it, "Unless there is a broad understanding of each other's customs and traditions, including food, clothes and films, we are not going to be able to do business easily. We (the Indians and Chinese) need to be friends."