Will The Goat Life Face the Fate of Fighter?

Owner's Profile

Staff Writer, TLR

Published on February 19, 2024, 18:32:21


movie, UAE, film, ban, the goat life, Fighter movie, Benjamin, Prithviraj, media regualtions

If the suspension of the Bollywood movie Fighter, starring actors Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, is anything to go by, the soon-to-be released movie The Goat Life (titled Aadu Jeevitham in Indian language Malayalam) will also meet with the same, media observers who are closely watching the latest developments believe.

There is a sense of anticipation regarding its reception within the regulatory framework of the UAE. “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,” a UAE-based senior journalist commented.

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.

The Goat Life is an upcoming survival drama film written, directed, and co-produced by famoue 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 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.

The movie is based on a novel by the same author titled Aadujeevitham. Its Arabic translation was banned in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The novel depicts the true-life story of a Malayali expatriate who went to Saudi Arabia for menial jobs, and it earned numerous awards including the Kerala Sahitya Academy Award in 2009. It was translated into English, Hindi, and other Indian languages with significant literary impact.

This type of prohibition is not new in Gulf countries. Similar restrictions were imposed on films like Gaddama directed by Indian director Kamal, depicting the hardships of life in Arab countries.

The Goat Life is likely to face the same fate of Bollywood flick Fighter, says Sunil Ambalavelil, Chairman at Dubai-based NYK law firm. “Fighter was red flagged in the UAE because it portrayed the rivalry between two South Asian nations, India and Pakistan, which goes against the core values upheld in the UAE,” he noted.

The suspension of Fighter in the UAE underscores the intricate equilibrium that authorities aim to uphold between cultural norms and the portrayal of content in films. The government's steadfast dedication to safeguarding cultural and religious sensitivities has resulted in the temporary halt of movies deemed to contradict these values. Although Fighter has been suspended, it stands as evidence of the rigorous enforcement of these regulations," he elaborated.

The scrutiny of content in the UAE is underscored by the situation surrounding the Barbie movie. The film faced limitations stemming from its depiction of themes that clashed with cultural norms and sensitivities. This occurrence serves as a notable illustration of the rigorous stance authorities adopt in maintaining their cultural and regulatory norms.

Prohibition Criteria

The UAE authorities have established specific criteria which, if breached, can result in the prohibition or suspension of films. Here are nine primary reasons behind such determinations:

Cultural Sensitivity: Movies that disrespect or portray cultural, religious, or traditional values in a manner inconsistent with UAE norms may undergo 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 might be considered offensive or contrary to the interests of the UAE or its allies may lead to the suspension of films.

Nudity and Sexual Content: Excessive nudity, explicit sexual content, or scenes that violate the conservative norms of the UAE can result in film censorship.

Profanity and Obscenity: The use of strong language, profanity, or obscene content may lead to the prohibition or suspension of films in the UAE.

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

Violence and Gore: Excessive violence or graphic scenes that contradict the country's standards for public viewing may lead to the suspension of films.

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 deemed threatening to the UAE can result in censorship.

The future of The Goat Life in the UAE remains uncertain. With its release date approaching, a sense of suspense fills the air. Will the film overcome regulatory hurdles and find its way onto UAE screens? Or will it meet the same fate as Fighter? All eyes are glued to the UAE censors, waiting for their decision. Whether The Goat Life achieves success or joins the ranks of the prohibited remains to be seen, keeping audiences eagerly awaiting the gripping narrative it promises.

For any enquiries or information, contact ask@tlr.ae or call us on +971 52 644 3004Follow The Law Reporters on WhatsApp Channels.