Why Fighter was Suspended: Decoding UAE's Film Restrictions

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Shulka S. Chavan

Published on February 1, 2024, 13:04:22


UAE Media council, uae, Dubai, censorship, entertainement, film,

The dynamic entertainment industry in the UAE embraces its complexities, especially regarding film censorship. The recent suspension of the Indian film "Fighter," starring actors Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, has garnered significant attention, prompting a closer examination of the regulatory standards in the UAE.

The distribution of this movie has been limited in the UAE because it portrays the rivalry between two South Asian nations, India and Pakistan, which goes against the core values upheld in the UAE.
The suspension of "Fighter" in the UAE highlights the delicate balance that authorities strive to maintain between cultural values and the content depicted in films. The government's unwavering commitment to preserving cultural and religious sensitivities has led to the suspension of movies perceived to conflict with these values. While "Fighter" faced suspension, it serves as a testament to the strict adherence to these regulations.

The scrutiny of content in the UAE is highlighted by the case of the Barbie movie. The film encountered restrictions due to its portrayal of certain themes conflicting with cultural norms and sensitivities. This instance positively emphasises the stringent approach authorities take in upholding their cultural and regulatory standards.

With the imminent release of the upcoming Malayalam film "Aadu Jeevitham," there is a sense of anticipation regarding its reception within the regulatory framework of the UAE. The movie delves into the challenges faced by a migrant worker working as a goatherd in Saudi Arabia. Given the sensitive nature of certain themes depicted in the film, there is a concern about potential backlash or suspension in the UAE. The portrayal of the struggles of migrant workers and life in Saudi Arabia may attract scrutiny, thereby highlighting the ongoing tension between artistic expression and cultural considerations.

Amidst these intricacies, both filmmakers and audiences are acutely aware of the delicate equilibrium between entertainment and cultural sensitivity within the distinctive cinematic landscape of the UAE. As we await the release of "Aadu Jeevitham," it serves as a window through which we can observe the evolving dynamics of film regulation in the region.

The UAE authorities have established specific criteria that, if violated, can result in the banning or suspension of films.
Here are nine key reasons behind such decisions:

Cultural Sensitivity:
Films that disrespect or depict cultural, religious, or traditional values in a manner inconsistent with UAE norms may face censorship. Avoid presenting content that could offend or jeopardize national unity, social harmony, or incite violence, hatred, or discord. Additionally, refrain from disseminating information that undermines the UAE's legal and economic systems.

Political Content:
Political content that may be deemed offensive or against the interests of the UAE or its allies can lead to film suspension.

Drug Promotion:
Films that glamorise or promote drug use or any form of substance abuse can face restrictions in the UAE.

Violence and Gore:
Excessive violence or graphic scenes that go against the country's standards for public viewing may lead to film suspension.

Anti-Islamic Content:
Any content perceived as disrespectful or critical of Islam may lead to the banning or suspension of films in the UAE.

National Security Concerns:
Films that raise concerns about national security or depict activities that may be considered a threat to the UAE can lead to censorship.

While the UAE encourages a diverse cultural landscape, the regulatory framework ensures that the content aligns with the nation's values and standards. Filmmakers and distributors are urged to adhere to these guidelines to ensure their creations resonate positively with the local audience.

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