The most talked- about film of this year, The Dirty Picture, has been banned in Qatar. And the makers are still wondering how the Vidya Balan starrer managed to reach audiences in a country like Pakistan, but couldn’t release in Qatar.
“Our distributors applied for a censorship certificate in Qatar and they received a notice saying that the movie can’t be released there. The film is currently being screened in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other Middle East countries, but it will not go to Qatar,” says Tanuj Garg, CEO Balaji Motion Pictures, adding, “The film was supposed to release there either this week or the next, but we were informed that it has been deemed unsuitable for theatrical exhibition.”
There were some hitches in releasing the film in Pakistan as well but it was all sorted out when the makers appealed their Censor Board’s decision. “Even a conservative country like Pakistan released the film after initially rejecting it. Qatar is the only place where the film has been banned,” reveals Garg.
When asked if any particular reason was given for their stern decision, Garg says, “We received a notice that was in Arabic. We obviously don’t understand the language. Logically, we guessed that the film might have been too bold or the content too controversial for them.”
Directed by Milan Luthria, The Dirty Picture released in India on December 2 and is reportedly inspired by the life and times of southern sire Silk Smitha, a role played by actor Vidya Balan. However, the ban hasn’t affected the film’s business much. “Qatar is not a huge market. It’s not about the incremental revenue, but it’s very disheartening and unfortunate that we couldn’t release the film there,” says Garg.
Balaji honcho Ekta Kapoor remained unavailable for comment as she is holidaying abroad. However, director Milan says, “Lust is part of our lives. We may deny it on the screen, but can we deny it in our minds? Why not accept it and celebrate it and enjoy it.”