'Bell Bottom': Saudi Arabia, Qatar ban Akshay Kumar's espionage thriller
Akshay Kumar's period film Bell Bottom was the first major theatrical release, massively boosting the suffering movie industry of the country. However, the espionage thriller has not been allowed to hit the big screens in several Gulf countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait. It seems like the film boards have objections to certain facts depicted in the movie. Read on.
As per reports, the cinematic portrayal of the real 1984 hijacking incident has left the censor boards of these nations unsatisfied. Bollywood Hungama quoted a source to state, "As per the actual incident, UAE Defense Minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had personally handled the situation and it was the UAE authorities who had nabbed the hijackers." But Kumar was the savior onscreen.
The anonymous source added, "In Bell Bottom, Indian officials, including the character played by Kumar, are shown as heroes of the episode. They also keep the UAE Defense Minister in dark about their operation." "So there's a strong possibility that the Censor Board in the Middle Eastern countries must have taken objection to it." Bell Bottom was released in the United Arab Emirates though.
Apart from the UAE, the Ranjit M Tewari directorial was released on over 225 foreign screens. Leading the list was the United Kingdom with 53 screens, followed by 25 in Canada, 20 in New Zealand, and 12 in South Africa. Singapore, Tanzania, Kenya, and others also saw the movie's premiere. But how successful has it been in drawing out the audience?
Releasing on a weekday in India, the movie saw lukewarm reception. But it gained speed in the weekend, earning Rs. 4.3cr on Sunday, taking its four-day haul to Rs. 12.65cr. In doing so, it surpassed Roohi's opening weekend sales (Rs. 12.58cr). Notably, Bell Bottom has been released in very few theaters (in comparison to pre-COVID-19 times) and halls are running at 50% capacity.