“Fighter” Flickers: UAE Authorities Suspend Release of Bollywood Blockbuster


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In a surprising turn of events, the much-anticipated Bollywood action-thriller, “Fighter,” starring Hrithik Roshan and Deepika Padukone, faced an unexpected setback in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The film, slated for release on Saturday, January 27, has been suspended by authorities in the UAE, leaving fans puzzled and disappointed.


Fighter Ban Across the Gulf Region

Initially, Indian media reports hinted at a potential ban across the Gulf region, with the exception of the UAE, where it was expected to be screened with a PG15 rating. However, residents in the UAE are now unable to view showtimes or book tickets for the film. Even though Google search results display the previously decided show timings, cinemas’ websites show no trace of the highly-anticipated action-thriller.

VOX and Reel Cinemas customer care agents have confirmed the suspension, emphasizing that the Dubai authorities have red-flagged Fighter, preventing its screening in all cinemas. A Reel Cinemas customer care agent stated, “Fighter has been suspended by the Dubai authorities, it has been red-flagged in all cinemas. We have no further information as of now.”

Suspension of Fighter

Adding to the confirmation, the film’s UAE distributor, Home Screen Entertainment, took to social media to announce the suspension of Fighter, further intensifying the disappointment among fans who were eagerly awaiting its release.

As of now, the UAE National Media Council, the official regulatory authority for films in the country, has not released an official statement regarding the suspension of “Fighter.” This lack of communication has fueled speculation and left audiences wondering about the reasons behind this unexpected move.

“Fighter” is a war-based movie centered around the Indian Air Force, narrating the lives of Shamsher Pathania (Hrithik Roshan) and Minal Rathor (Deepika Padukone) as they navigate India’s national security situations. Fighter’s premise, coupled with its stellar star cast, had generated significant buzz and anticipation among Bollywood enthusiasts in the UAE.

This incident, however, is not the first time a film has faced suspension or delay in the UAE. In 2023, the release of the world’s highest-grossing film, “Barbie,” was delayed in the UAE. Similarly, Disney-Pixar’s animated film “Lightyear” faced a ban in 2022, with the country’s Media Regulatory Office citing a violation of “the country’s media content standards.”

Moreover, the 2022 release of the Malayalam film “Sita Ramam,” set against the backdrop of the Indian Army and wartime, also experienced a delayed release in the UAE. These instances raise questions about the criteria and considerations that lead to the suspension or delay of films in the country.

The suspension of “Fighter” not only disappoints eager fans but also sparks discussions about the role of regulatory authorities and the factors influencing their decisions. As audiences await an official statement from the UAE National Media Council, the incident prompts reflection on the delicate balance between artistic expression and adherence to local content standards in the vibrant cinematic landscape of the UAE.

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