Bollywood’s latest release, ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’, starring actors Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar has reportedly been banned in Dubai and other cities of UAE over its homosexual content.
According to reports, the makers of the movie had even offered to snip a kissing scene between the protagonists to avoid the ban but to no avail. The movie was still banned in UAE asserting that it is not the scene but the theme as a whole.
A source from Dubai was quoted by Bollywood Hungama as saying: “We knew this was coming. Or, rather not coming. We really wanted to see what Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan has to say since it is the first Bollywood film that normalises a gay relationship. Sadly, all films with gay content are banned in these parts.”
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, a directorial debut of Hitesh Kewalya, is a love story between two men in small-town India. In the movie, the homosexual couple tries to win the acceptance of their conservative family. The makers of the movie have tried to break the taboo against homosexuality by aiming to deal with that with humour through Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan.
In a recent interview by IANS, Ayushmann said that he was grateful for the country and industry for being acceptive of a film like that. “As an artist, I’m fortunate and privileged to be living and working in such times. I’m proud of my country and industry for the progressiveness that it has shown in the recent past and I’m grateful that I’m part of such a vision like Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan that tells us about important life and societal lessons,” he said.
In India, Section 377 was decriminalised in September 2018. However, same-sex relationships continue to largely remain a taboo.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights are heavily suppressed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). All sexual relations outside a heterosexual marriage is a crime and attracts deportation, jail terms and fines.
Many LGBTIQ-related websites, including Grindr and other dating apps, are blocked and not officially accessible from inside the UAE.
In many Islamic countries, homosexuality is severely punished. At times, the government have even subjected persons to compulsory psychological treatment for homosexual activity. According to Human Rights Watch and the UN Human Rights Council, doctors have been known to administer torturous forensic anal exams to “prove” male suspects’ homosexuality.