A boundary-breaking Bollywood rom-com starring a same-sex couple has been banned from being screened in Kenya by the country’s film regulatory body.
The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, which hit Indian theatres Friday to a consultation of five star reviews across the board.
But in a statement to newsrooms, the board’s CEO Ezekiel Mutua announced that the film will not be shown in Kenya, where gay sex is illegal and punishable by a one year imprisonment, local media reported.
This comes only hours after it was announced by the Hindi movie’s filmmaker Hitesh Kewalya that it will not be screened in the United Arab Emirates.
Groundbreaking gay romcom will be banned from Kenya.
“The film is worse than the ones we have banned in the past as it has scenes involving children in homosexual practices and openly attempts to legitimise same-sex marriage,” Mutua said.
“Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya.
“Further, Kenya is a God-fearing nation which places a great premium on family, an institution derived from a union between two people of the opposite gender.”
He continued: “Those who want to consume such content can go and watch it in India where the film was done or any other country where homosexuality is permissible.
“Kenya will not be the dumping ground for all manner of filth that seeks to destroy the institution of family and our cultural identity.”
Mutua stated that, as per regulations, any attempts to distribute, broadcast or exhibit the “restricted material” will be “met with the full force of the law” and distributors loosened by the Board will have accreditation revoked.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan actor wants movie to test baby boomers.
Gay sex became legal in India in 2018, when the country’s Supreme Court struck down British colonial-era law Section 377.
Undoubedbly, the LGBT+ community in the country has blossomed since, and the team behind the film hope it will challenge older generations of Indians to embrace the tides of change.
The film stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar as gay couple Kartik and Aman, as they struggle to win over Aman’s parents – who are unable to accept that their son is gay, and attempt to set up an arranged marriage.
Speaking to the New Indian Express, Khurrana said: “Most people in the LGBTQ community have difficulty talking to their families.
“The biggest obstacle is the family. They are conservative, non-progressive, closed off.
“I believe our film will be the first step towards opening up a conversation”
The actor said that the film presents a serious message packaged as popcorn entertainment, adding: “It’s made for the boomer generation, the generation that thinks it’s unnatural to be gay.”