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Film and TV

Boundary-breaking Bollywood rom-com banned in UAE and absolutely nobody is surprised

Josh Milton February 22, 2020
Bollywood film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdha

Bollywood film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdha

A new Bollywood rom-com featuring a same-sex couple has been banned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and literally nobody is surprised by this.

The UAE features some of the most intensely restrictive anti-LGBT laws in the world, where anything outside of heterosexual marriage is considered a crime.

Hindi romantic comedy Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (Extra Careful of Marriage) hit theatres Friday to a constellation of five star reviews across the board. Touted as the country’s first gay romcom, it sees a couple battle taboo and tradition

Filmmaker confirms groundbreaking rom-com won’t show in UAE theatres.

Filmmaker Hitesh Kewalya explained that the film will not be shown in any cinemas across the UAE.

“Yes, it’s banned,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I am just happy and proud that I live in a country where homosexuality has been decriminalised and we are able to make and watch films like these in a commercial space.”

From The Sims to Star Wars, the emirates stonewall and censor media that national regulatory bodies deem socially or morally offensive or counter to religious values. As a result, there are next to no mainstream media representations of LGBT+ people in the UAE, where sex between men is punishable with jail times, flogging, deportation and death under Sharia law.

But the banning of Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan stands in sharp contrast to India, where moviegoers packed cinemas Friday to catch a first viewing of the trailblazing film.

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan actor wants movie to test boomers.

Gay sex became legal in India in 2018, when the country’s Supreme Court struck down British colonial-era law Section 377.

Undoubedbly, the LGBT+ community in the country has blossomed since, and the team behind the film hope it will challenge older generations of Indians to embrace the tides of change.

The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar as gay couple Kartik and Aman, as they struggle to win over Aman’s parents – who are unable to accept that their son is gay, and attempt to set up an arranged marriage.

Speaking to the New Indian Express, Khurrana said: “Most people in the LGBTQ community have difficulty talking to their families.

“The biggest obstacle is the family. They are conservative, non-progressive, closed off.

“I believe our film will be the first step towards opening up a conversation”

The actor said that the film presents a serious message packaged as popcorn entertainment, adding: “It’s made for the boomer generation, the generation that thinks it’s unnatural to be gay.”

More: banned, Bollywood, India, UAE

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