Rejected By Bollywood, Indian Man Makes It Big In Chinese Films; Has A Section On Him In Textbooks

New Delhi: From Uttarakhand to China. This is what Dev Raturi’s biography or a biopic on him would be titled. His career journey is perhaps the rarest and most unique. For an Uttarkhand-born to find a place in Chinese films and school textbooks is no meant feat. Yet, here is our man. Belonging to Kemriya Saur village in Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garhwal district, Dev, now 46, was a diehard Bruce Lee fan who wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hero. He once auditioned for a role in a Hindi movie in Mumbai in front of Puneet Issar (Duryodhan in ‘Mahabharat’) in 1998 but failed.

Fast forward to 18 years after he reached China to work as a waiter in a restaurant, English textbooks for Class VII students in schools of Xian city in Shanxi Province have a section on him, Times of India reported.

Dev learned karate in India and was on the lookout for an opportunity to go to China for further training. So he did menial jobs in Delhi for a decade to support his family back home before managing to get a job as a waiter in an Indian restaurant in Shenzhen, China, in 2005.

“While working as a waiter in the restaurant for a monthly salary of Rs 10.000. I gained proficiency in Mandarin. My dream of getting trained in martial arts kept me up at night. However, my hopes were shattered after the locals there told me that for further training I need to go to the Shaolin Temple, a renowned monastic institution recognised as the birthplace of Chan Buddhism and the cradle of Shaolin Kung Fu, which I couldn’t afford,” Dev, a Class XII dropout was quoted as saying by TOI.

He had no option but to persevere. He worked hard for the next seven years and rose to the rank of manager at a high-end restaurant. In 2013, he managed to open his own restaurant, Red Fort, in Xian. Dev based it on India’s rich cultural heritage.

At his restaurant, Dev met a Chinese director. This was in 2017. He was offered a small role in a TV series named SWAT. Since then, Dev has acted in over 35 Chinese films and TV serials, including popular ones like ‘My Roommate is a Detective in which he has a prominent role.

Today, Dev owns eight restaurants in China.

“My work in Chinese cinema helped me become a popular face. I have received immense love from locals who helped me during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have adopted me as their own,” Dev, who lives in Xian with his wife Anjali and two sons, Arav, 11, and nine-year-old Arnav told TOI. Dev has brought over close to 150 unemployed men from his village to China, giving them jobs and opportunities.

To date, he has showcased his acting prowess in 20 Chinese films and web series since 2015 and shared screen space with popular Chinese stars like Liu Tao, Wu Gang, Zhang Jin, Li Zhiting, and Qiao Zhenyu, among others. The cinematic quality of his life has inspired over 15 documentaries, including those produced by CCTV, Xinhua, Mango TV and History Channel, according to CGTN.

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