Fighter: Bollywood film 'suspended' from Gulf cinemas, according to distributor

Blockbuster starring Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan was due to be released on Thursday

Deepika Padukone in Fighter, which was tipped to be one of Indian cinema's biggest films of the year. Photo: Viacom18 Studios
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Bollywood action film Fighter has been removed from cinema listings in the Gulf, a day before its release.

The patriotic drama, which stars Deepika Padukone and Hrithik Roshan, was scheduled to be released on Thursday, in time for India's Republic Day on January 26.

But on Wednesday night, advanced booking options were removed from cinema websites.

Home Screen Entertainment, the film's distributor, said Fighter's release had been "suspended".

No reason was given for the removal of the film from cinema listings in its Instagram post, but a representative said more details will be shared when they are available.

The UAE Media Council approves films for release in the country but has yet to comment.

The National has contacted UAE cinema chains including Vox Cinemas for comment.

Reportedly made on a budget of 2.5 billion Indian rupees ($30 million), Fighter is billed as one of the first Indian films to feature aerial combat scenes. It is directed by Siddharth Anand. His film Pathaan, released this time last year, is one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time.

Planned as the first in a franchise, Fighter has received inevitable comparisons to Tom Cruise's Top Gun films. Alongside Padukone and Roshan, it stars Anil Kapoor, Karan Singh Grover and Akshay Oberoi.

The trailer shows a group of top-notch Indian fighter pilots being assembled for a "quick response team" called Air Dragons. It features many aerial stunts, patriotic slogans and dance sequences.

There are also references to real-life incidents such as the 2019 Pulwama attack where a suicide bomber in Kashmir killed 40 Indian security personnel. The incident brought India and Pakistan to the brink of a war. Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed later claimed responsibility for the attack.

While announcing the film in 2021, director Anand called Fighter "a dream project".

"With this film, we aim to put Indian films on the map for action-loving global theatrical audiences who crave for spectacle and the big screen experience," he said.

Updated: January 25, 2024, 9:15 AM