In an unexpected turn of events, Fighter, starring Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, has faced an obstacle in its release in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Initially avoiding the bans imposed in other Gulf countries, recent reports by Bollywood Hungama and Times of India suggest that Fighter has now been suspended in the UAE as well.
The film’s narrative, revolving around India’s response to the sensitive Pulwama terrorist attack, has raised concerns and led to its prohibition in various regions. Earlier reports by Filmfare and Hindustan Times indicated that fans in Gulf countries, eagerly awaiting the film’s release, would be disappointed as Fighter was denied release in all Gulf nations, except the UAE. The exact cause for the prohibition was not disclosed initially.
Trade analyst Girish Johar confirmed the same. He stated on X, “In a setback, Fighter officially banned across Middle East regions for theatrical release. Only UAE will release the film with a PG15 classification!” Recent reports now claim that UAE has also banned the film, with confirmation from the film’s UAE distributor, as per Times of India.
The film’s trailer faced criticism, particularly for its depiction of the Pulwama attack. Some sections in Pakistan accused the film of promoting an “anti-Pakistan” agenda and exploiting a sensitive issue. These critiques, combined with the film’s controversial theme, likely influenced the decisions of the Gulf censor boards.
Director Siddharth Anand addressed the concerns, urging viewers to watch the film in its entirety for context before forming an opinion based on the trailer. He emphasised that Fighter aims to raise questions about terrorism without instigating animosity towards any nation. The lead cast echoed this sentiment, highlighting the film’s message of unity against terrorism.
Despite the suspension and bans, Fighter will continue its theatrical run in India. Alongside Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, the film features Anil Kapoor, Karan Singh Grover, Akshay Oberoi, and Sanjeeda Shaikh. It is jointly produced by Viacom18 Studios and Marflix Pictures.
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