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Reema Kagti’s Gold becomes first Hindi film to be released in Saudi Arabia

After a 35-year ban, the Middle Eastern kingdom has allowed the re-opening of public movie theatres and permitted only certain films to be screened for local audiences.

Sonal Pandya

Reema Kagti’s period film, Gold (2018), on independent India’s first gold medal in 1948, is succeeding not just at the Indian box office. It is making inroads in a kingdom where cinema is just recently making a comeback.

Gold, starring Akshay Kumar, is the first Hindi film to be released in Saudi Arabia. Since 1983, cinema has been banned in the country. If locals wanted to watch films, they did so privately. This April, that changed when the Hollywood superhero film, Black Panther (2018), became the first film to be screened in 35 years.

Gold review: A satisfactory attempt at revisiting a glorious past

Last December, the government allowed the re-opening of movie theatres as part of a greater move to ease up social freedoms for its people. According to a report in Reuters, a news agency, the government has pledged “to open more than 300 cinemas with more than 2,000 screens by 2030”.

Earlier this year, superstar Rajinikanth’s Kaala (2018) became the first Indian film to be released in Saudi Arabia, while Gold follows suit as the first Hindi film. The film’s proud star tweeted the news and informed that the film hit the screens in Saudi Arabia today (31 August).

The sports film also stars Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh and Mouni Roy.