Bollywood film 'Fighter' will not be screened in UAE, officials confirm

Earlier, media reports had stated that the Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone-starrer would be banned across the Gulf, except the Emirates

by

Meher Dhanjal

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Photo: deepikapadukone/Instagram
Photo: deepikapadukone/Instagram

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 10:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Jan 2024, 7:07 PM

[Editor's Note: This story has been updated in light of a new development.]

The much-anticipated Bollywood action-thriller 'Fighter' will not be screened in the UAE, Khaleej Times can now confirm, as per official sources.

The film was set to release in the UAE on Saturday, January 27. However, residents were in for a surprise when they were unable to view show times for the film or book tickets last weekend.

Last weekend, customer care agents from VOX and Reel Cinemas confirmed to Khaleej Times that the film has been suspended by authorities in the UAE.

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"The film has been suspended by the Dubai authorities, it has been red-flagged in all cinemas. We have no further information as of now," a Reel cinemas customer care agent said on call.

The distributor of the film in UAE, Home Screen Entertainment, also made a statement on X, saying, "The release of Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone starrer, Fighter is currently suspended in UAE. We will share more updates once available."

Earlier, Indian media reports had stated that the Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone-starrer would be banned across the Gulf, except the UAE – where it would be screened with a PG15 rating.

'Fighter' is a war-based movie which revolves around members of the Indian Air Force. It follows the life of Shamsher Pathania (Hrithik Roshan) and Minal Rathor (Deepika Padukone) as they navigate India's national security situations.

Nineteen-year-old Pakistani expat in Dubai, Warda Sherwani, said, "There is so much war going on right now, and I don't see why we should promote more war."

Ehaab Qadeer, an Indian videographer based in Dubai, said that he understands why the film is seen as controversial in some countries. "I feel like freedom of expression and art should be used to unite people."

The film has been banned in countries across the GCC, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad Al Marzooqi, an Emirati Bollywood movie reviewer and enthusiast, said to Khaleej Times, "Actually, I am with the censors, after what is happening in Palestine."

He added, "I am happy that the Arab audiences are with me and against the film."

This is not the first time that a film has been suspended or delayed in UAE.

In 2023, one of the world's highest-grossing films, 'Barbie' had a delayed release in the UAE. The film was slated to release mid-July, but was delayed. Cinemas in the UAE then listed August 31 as its release date, which was then pushed back to August 10.

Disney-Pixar's animated film Lightyear was not screened in the UAE, in 2022. The country's Media Regulatory Office had made an announcement through an Instagram post, saying that the movie violated "the country’s media content standards”.

In 2022, Malayalam film 'Sita Ramam' also had a delayed release. The Indian film is also set against the backdrop of the Indian Army and is set in a time of war.

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