Workers get upset over cinema's 'lungi' ban

Movie hall in Al Quoz bans men turning up in traditional South Indian attire

Next time you wanna relax watching a movie in a cinema house, make sure you are decently dressed.

A theatre in Dubai has banned lungi (a traditional garment worn around the waist by men in Asian nations) in its premises. Bollywood Cinemas, a new theatre in Al Qouz industrial area, has implemented the new dress code for movie goers.

Notices put up at the enterance in all South Inidan languages reads - "Please don’t come to the theatre wearing lungis. It is not allowed here.”

 The twin cinema theatre, with 300 seats, largely caters to blue-collared workers as it is close to labour accommodation camps in the area.

The dress code comes at a time when workers were happy to get a new theatre closer home. Earlier, they had to travel long distances to watch a film.

The manager of Bollywood Cinemas, located in Al Kabayan Oasis, said: "Most theatres in Dubai do not allow people in lungi. Several workers come in lungis, causing embarrassment to families coming for the shows. In fact, we have received complaints from some family viewers.” 

 South Indian films play at the theatre on most days. "The rule has been effective since one month. A theatre is a public place and people should be dressed properly.  We will allow them to come in lungi and book their tickets. But while watching the show, they cannot wear lungis," the manager added.

Theatre officials also said they have resorted to this measure to avoid paying fines to Dubai Municipality. “We can be fined by the Municipality, if they find people watching movies in lungis. Officials do occasional inspections in our theatres,” he added.

“White dhotis are allowed on special occasions such as Onam (the South Indian harvest festival) or Diwali (Festival of lights); but no lungis," the manager said.

 Al Quoz Twin Cinema, which opened in January 2011 changed ownership after the first promoters sold the theatre following six months of heavy losses. “On several week days there are hardly a handful of audience. Only once the theatre ran a houseful show for a Malayalam movie - 'Rathi Nirvetham'," he added.

Sukumar, who lives in Al Qouz, said: "I watched 'Pranayam', a Malayalam film, all alone. There were only five people to watch 'Indian Rupee'. The theatre is empty most of the time and the new dress code may further reduce the numbers."

 The garment has already been banned in Sharjah.

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