A Pakistani movie showing the JF-17 fighter aircraft jointly developed with China and referencing a dogfight with Mirage-2000s flown by the Indian air force premiered in Beijing on Wednesday. The first Pakistani film to be released in China in decades, Parwaaz Hai Junoon (The Soaring Ambition) will be released in theatres on November 13.
Its release comes in the run-up to the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan in May 1951.
China’s official media noted a comparison made in the 2018 movie between the JF-17 – a fourth generation fighter aircraft jointly developed between China and Pakistan – and the French-made Mirage-2000, deployed by the Indian Air Force and used during the Kargil war in 1999.
A dogfight early in the movie shows Pakistani air force fighting three Mirage-2000s, which had flown in from the eastern sector.
Later in the movie, Pakistani fighter pilots are also shown carrying out strikes against the Taliban.
“In one of the film’s highlights a JF-17, a fourth-generation fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan, makes a surprise appearance,” the nationalistic tabloid Global Times said in a report on the movie premier.
“In the movie, a teacher at the air force academy asks students to compare the JF-17 with Mirage 2000 in class. A student answers that the JF-17 has three advantages including flexibility and safety and is complimented by the teacher,” the report said.
The movie’s release comes in the backdrop of worsening Sino-India ties amid the ongoing border friction in eastern Ladakh.
Chinese official media has hailed the release as a sign of close ties between China and Pakistan.
Pakistani ambassador to China Moin ul Haque, who attended the premiere, was quoted as saying that more Pakistani films and TV dramas will be released here to help Chinese people better understand Pakistani culture and strengthen the two countries’ friendship.
The agreement to bring the film to the mainland was signed in April 2019 at a China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation forum during the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Chinese state media reports highlighted that The Soaring Ambition will be the first Pakistani movie to be released in China in several decades.
Bollywood-made Hindi movies, despite strained Sino-India ties, have an audience in China.
The Aamir Khan-starrer Dangal, for example, was an unexpected hit in China in 2017, making more than $200 million and becoming the highest-grossing non-English movie here.
A handful of low-budget China-Pakistan film collaborations are underway, the entertainment portal, Variety.com, reported in October.
The report said that The Journey, announced at a Shanghai Cooperation Organistion (SCO) Film Festival at a ceremony with actor Jackie Chan in attendance, tells the stories of real-life Chinese businesses participating in international trade with Pakistan through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – part of the Belt and Road Initiative – Beijing’s multi-billion dollar package of infrastructure projects in the country.