MUMBAI—He kept stressing that Indian Yoga and Chinese Kung Fu have to come together and film artistes must keep up the exchange of cultures. Thwarting a question about politics, in his halting and often quaintly ungrammatical English, Jackie Chan lit up hearts by stating that politics should be left to politicians and the combined gigantic populace of India and China should join forces to bring peace.
Chan was in Mumbai for the media meet of his new actioner, “Kung Fu Yoga,” which releases in India on Feb. 3. The meet was held at the J.W. Marriott on Jan. 23. The long wait of four hours after the invitation time of 3.15 pm given to the media was forgotten as soon as Chan made his appearance on stage at 7.15 pm sharp.
Accompanied by co-star Sonu Sood, who has taken over the film’s distribution in India, and co-stars Miya Muqi from China, Disha Patani and Amyra Dastur and director Stanley Tong, Chan was a picture of humility and humor as he spoke about the film, himself and co-stars. Demonstrating a Rajinikanth-like self-effacing modesty, he stated how he would continue to do his best and risk his life and limb with every film “till I can move.”
His director, Tong, also stated that India was a special place for him. “I visited India first in 1993 and then 11 years ago when working on “The Myth.” While Muqi thanked all, Dastur stated that she had been a fan of both Chan and Sood. Patani recalled Chan and her having to do a sequence under a waterfall in Iceland in minus five degrees centigrade.
And Chan’s repartee was, “Everyone was concerned about her! They thought that since I was Jackie Chan, I would be fine! But I too was freezing! So many people came to help her, but no one bothered about me!”
Smiled Patani and said, “But he’s like a Santa Claus on the sets, and believes in feeding chocolates and cookies to everyone with his own hands. He has made us better human beings just by our watching him pick up litter himself and also detesting any wastage of food.”
Chan promised to come more and more to India (“You can check my record – I came here twice to shoot my films, and many times to film festivals and for charity programs!”). He wanted a director here to hire him so that he could leave action and do a film with lots of dancing! Added Sood, “Yes, when shooting, he would enjoy the dancing part the most.”
Chan stated that while the difference in Indian action and Chinese action was in the speed (he demonstrated this with his actions!), he found dancing very difficult. “While moving their hands, Indians move their heads so easily! I find it very difficult!” he grinned.
Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who came in initially (with hubby Raj Kundra in the audience) to introduce Chan and Sood, touched his feet when she was leaving, and remarked that what she liked about Chan was the fact that he never showed blood in his action sequences. He simply replied, “If my film can be watched by children, it can be watched by the whole world! The reason why I try out so much risky action is that when I go home and see my fan mail, I realize that the only way I can do something for every fan is to give them something special in my films.”
Tong endorsed the fact that Chan always wanted something new in each film. Chan said, “This time I turned down the idea of car chases because it has been done before. Because we were shooting then in Dubai, we brought in a lion as people keep wild animals as pets there!”
Sood added that his father had been told about this assignment and that he would get to watch the movie for which Chan had approached him. “He died a few months ago, but through my distributing the film, somewhere I see him joining hands with me.”
The team also did a short jig to an Indian song that has been added to the film. The film is expected to win over audiences, as Chan has been iconic even in India. At 62, he has been acting for 56 years, beginning as a child actor. He is also a trained singer, martial arts exponent and filmmaker. The Chan-Tong association has completed 25 years.