x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Censors will edit or ban Bollywood film

The Hindi-language film was taken off screens across the UAE on Sunday after complaints that it offended the country's Islamic and social values.

Censors will decide during the next few days whether to completely ban an "offensive" Bollywood film pulled from UAE screens this week or to allow it to be re-released with cuts. The Hindi-language film God Tussi Great Ho, inspired by the 2003 Jim Carrey comedy Bruce Almighty, was taken off screens across the UAE on Sunday after complaints from moviegoers that it offended the country's Islamic and social values.

The film opened last Thursday. "We are currently deliberating on whether we should cut parts of it, ban it or re-release it," said a spokesman for the National Media Council (NMC) in Dubai yesterday. The decision could be made as soon as today, "but you will hear something by the end of the week". The distributor, Al Nisr Film Distribution Company, said screenings had been suspended because the censors wanted to look again at the film.

The film, which stars Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, is about a man who is unhappy with his life and blames God for his predicament. God appears, gives the man his powers and invites him to see if he can do a better job. The two-and-a-half-hour comedy, which had a good box-office opening and is playing to packed houses in India, had attracted a number of complaints, said the NMC spokesman.

"We had to pull it because it went against our Islamic and social values," he said. "Obviously, it is an offensive movie and we need to be careful not to allow something that goes against our religion on screen." The Bollywood film community and fans of Indian cinema have appealed for the film to be re-released. "We have also had complaints from the public to re-release the film as it seems quite popular with moviegoers," said the NMC spokesman.

Bollywood films have a major following in the UAE, with most having their Middle East premiere in Dubai. @Email:pmenon@thenational.ae @Email:shafez@thenational.ae