Early this week, the action film 'Fighter,' which stars Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan, made headlines due to its prohibition in Gulf states.
According to earlier reports, the action film was banned in a number of Gulf states, except the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Now, trade analysts assert, citing latest reports, that the film is slated for a "suspension" in the UAE, as major theatre chains have removed booking options.
Fans were stunned to learn of this suspension only recently, when the film's UAE distributor issued a confirmation. Although the exact reason for the ban remains undisclosed, reports indicate that the decision was prompted by "some objectionable content in the film."
It had been speculated that 'Fighter' would be released in the UAE with a PG 15 rating prior to the prohibition.
This occurrence arises in the midst of apprehensions regarding the film's plot, which centers on India's reaction to the delicate terrorist attack in Pulwama, India-held Kashmir.
The action-packed and patriotic 'Fighter' trailer was lauded for its emotional resonance and technical brilliance. Nevertheless, certain factions in Pakistan expressed disapproval of the film's portrayal of the Pulwama attack, alleging that it "utilized a delicate matter" and promoted an "anti-Pakistan" platform. It is believed that this critique, in conjunction with the film's contentious subject matter, influenced the decisions of the Gulf censor boards.
In response to the concerns expressed, Siddharth Anand, the film's director, advised the public to view the entire film for context before developing an opinion predicated on the trailer. He emphasized that the purpose of Fighter is to raise questions about terrorism, not to incite hostility against any nation. The main cast mirrored this sentiment, thereby emphasizing the film's thematic focus on solidarity in the face of terrorism.
Given its status as a prominent international market for Bollywood films, the suspension is anticipated to substantially affect the film's cumulative earnings at the box office across the globe.
'Pathaan,' the previous blockbuster from 'Fighter' director Siddharth Anand, amassed more than $12.6 million in the Gulf region and also topped the box office in the UAE with its earnings. Hrithik's previous blockbuster 'War' had grossed close to $5 million in the Gulf, demonstrating the region's significance to the Indian film industry.
Given the compromised release in the Gulf region, industry professionals are now placing significant emphasis on 'Fighter's' imperative to achieve an outstanding domestic box office performance in order to compensate for its considerable financial investment.
'Fighter' stars Hrithik and Deepika, Anil Kapoor, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi and Sanjeeda Shaikh. It is all set to be released today.