An Indian biopic, The Dirty Picture, on the life of Silk Smitha, a South Indian actress known for her erotic roles and films, has been banned by a Qatari agency in charge of censoring films to be screened in the country. The film, starring popular Bollywood actress Vidya Balan in the lead role, has already been released in other Islamic nations, including Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
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, said Tanuj Garg, the Chief Executive Officer of the film's production house - Balaji Motion Pictures - in a statement.
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, he added.
Garg, however, could not provide specific reasons for the ban.
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, he added.
The film, according to its makers, is not based exclusively on Silk Smitha's life; it is instead inspired by the distressing lives of several Indian and Hollywood actresses who were famous for their erotic on-screen personas.
The Dirty Picture raised a fair amount of controversy in India too, when a city court in the southern city of Hyderabad directed local police to file a First Information Report (FIR) against Vidya Balan, charging her with obscenity for her role in the film. The complaint, an advocate and a Muslim, S.K. Azad, alleged the film could spoil the minds of viewers and cause harm to the society.