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‘Thank You, UAE’, Movie Buffs and Expat Fans Shower Praise on Govt for Goat Life Release

The film debuted simultaneously in major Indian languages in theatres across the UAE

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Ismail Meladi

Published on March 30, 2024, 09:49:23

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The Goat Life, movie, benyamin, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Blessy, malayalam movie

From Thursday onwards, movie enthusiasts in the UAE unite in gratitude towards the authorities for granting approval for the release of the pan-Indian film, The Goat Life, which was not authorised for screening in theatres in other GCC countries.

Starring Prithviraj, The Goat Life debuted simultaneously in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi in theaters across the UAE.

Despite it being Ramadan time, theatres in the UAE experienced significant attendance, even for late-night shows. Many were eager to attend the first screening. Some had doubts about whether the film, which portrays an Arab as the antagonist to the protagonist Najeeb, would ever be permitted for screening in any Gulf countries. However, many are still left wondering how the authorities sanctioned the screening of such a film.

A Great Experience

"It’s a great step as far as the UAE is concerned, as the rulers of this country never hesitate to absorb the necessary changes the time demands. It’s a great joyful experience and big relief for the moviegoers in the UAE that they can also watch one of the biggest dream projects of the Malayalam film industry at the same time as it is watched in India," said Sameer Ali, a cinematographer who works for Malayalam films as well as films produced in the UAE.

Sameer Ali, Cinematographer

"The UAE government’s careful and well-studied approach to the various modern-day art forms is an emulative example for many countries," said Prasad Enathil, who works as a supervisor at Tack and Track company.

Prem Raj, who works for a private firm, was short of words to praise UAE authorities for allowing the screening of a film that discusses even some negative aspects of Arabs. "Will this magnanimity happen in any other countries?" he asked.

Vivekanandan Ennazhiyil, an outdoor salesman in a private firm, is apprehensive about a change in attitude among Arabs after watching this film. "Will they lose their love and affection towards us after watching this?" he asked.

Vivekanand Ennazhiyil, Prasad Enathayil, Prem Raj

But he was quick to add: "Though the cruel sponsor in the film is an Arab, the person who showed the path to escape out of the desert is an African Arab, and the rich person who took Najeeb to safety in his luxury car was also an Arab, which means that the film tries to depict all aspects of human beings, regardless of nationality."

Sahad from Thiruvananthapuram, who works in a real estate company in Dubai, was struggling to come out of the hangover created by the film in his mind.


 

Sahad

"I have never watched a film like this. The enchanting Arabian desert and its various hues have captured my mind," he said, adding that earlier films like Sameer and Gaddama, that had similar aspects about Arabs, were not allowed to be screened, while The Goat Life got the clearance of the authorities in the UAE.

GCC Countries Yet to Make a Decision

The Goat Life was released on March 28 in the UAE theatres along with the rest of the world, though other GCC countries are yet to make a decision on the release.

Recently, the Bollywood movie Fighter, starring actors Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, was banned in the UAE, as was the case with the Malayalam movies ‘Gaddama’ and ‘Sameer’ a few years back, indicating that they were in violation of the regulatory framework of the UAE.

The Goat Life delves into the challenges faced by a migrant labourer working as a goatherd in Saudi Arabia. Given the sensitive nature of certain themes depicted in the film, there was concern about potential backlash or suspension in the UAE. The portrayal of the struggles of migrant workers and life in Saudi Arabia could have attracted scrutiny in the UAE too, highlighting the ongoing tension between artistic expression and cultural considerations.

Goat Life is a survival drama film written, directed, and co-produced by famous Indian director Blessy. The film is an international co-production involving companies in India and the United States.

It is an adaptation of the 2008 Malayalam novel Aadujeevitham by Benyamin, which he claims is based on a true incident.

The film stars Prithviraj Sukumaran as the protagonist Najeeb, an Indian immigrant labourer from Kerala who finds himself forced into slavery as a goatherd on a secluded farm in Saudi Arabia.

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