Amazon Prime Video’s new anthology series Modern Love: Mumbai premiered on the streaming platform on May 13. The series features six love stories that all take place in Mumbai, among them Baai, which stars Pratik Gandhi, Ranveer Brar and Tanuja. The film focuses on a love story between a gay couple and how the protagonist hid his sexuality from his grandmother. However, the episode – which is normally the second of six – is curiously missing from the version of Modern Love: Mumbai available in the UAE. Many viewers have reported the absence, with some speculating it may be due to the nation’s strict stance against depicting LGBTQ romance. Read also : Modern Love Mumbai: Hansal Mehta says the kiss between Pratik Gandhi and Ranveer Brar was deliberately awkward
Directed by Hansal Mehta, Baai focuses on the love story of Manzar (Pratik Gandhi) and Rajveer (Ranveer Brar) and how Manzar hid his sexuality from his Baai (his grandmother, played by Tanuja). The episode/short film won acclaim for its sensitive portrayal of the LGBTQ community and gay romance. In India and several other parts of the world, the episode is nestled between the Raat Rani and Mumbai Dragon episodes. However, Prime Video subscribers in the UAE say the show only has five episodes there with Baai unavailable to watch.
A few social media users have reported over the past few days that Modern Love: Mumbai Episode 2 is unavailable in the UAE. A Twitter user even said that Made in Heaven – another show featuring a gay protagonist – was also not available in the country. Tagging Amazon AE and Prime Video, Twitter user @shwoooohadha wrote on May 14, “Is there a reason #ModernLoveMumbai episode 2 is not available in the UAE? You also removed #MadeInHeaven. Amazon Help asked them to contact the Prime Video team. When the user replied that they had received no response, Amazon’s official support account replied, “We apologize, Prime Video content is regional and not determined solely by Amazon. We do our best to add new content.
Other social media posts also highlighted Baai’s absence from the UAE. A post on Reddit’s Bolly Blinds n Gossip subreddit by u/full_metal_028 said, “I can’t see the Baai episode in the UAE. I have also used several VPNs. My brother can access 2nd episode from India using my account. Many in the thread speculated if this was due to the show’s gay romance.
Hindustan Times was able to independently verify the omission with at least two Prime Video subscribers living in the United Arab Emirates confirming it. Amir, an Indian expat living in Dubai, confirmed to Hindustan Times: “Yes, Baai is not available for streaming in the UAE. In fact, Made in Heaven, which was there earlier, is also missing now.
According to a press release shared by Prime Video, Modern Love Mumbai was set to “world premiere on May 13, 2022 in over 240 countries and territories.” However, it does not specify which territories it is and in what form or manner the program is broadcast there. Prime Video did not immediately respond to our questions regarding this omission and whether it was deliberate or imposed by local authorities.
The United Arab Emirates has in the past banned films with gay romance themes. In 2020, the country banned the release of Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar star Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan, which was billed as India’s first gay romantic comedy.
Curiously, the recent Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness faced opposition in Saudi Arabia over a scene depicting a same-sex couple. However, a report by Variety noted that he came out in the UAE unimpeded. Similarly, the film Everything Everywhere All At Once was banned in several parts of the Middle East but not in the United Arab Emirates. According to a report by Deadline, in November 2021, the UAE announced that it would remove censorship from films and instead introduce a 21+ rating. This makes Baai’s omission from Prime Video even more puzzling. Read also : Modern Love Mumbai review: Dhruv Sehgal, Hansal Mehta’s beautiful stories are worth going through anything
Modern Love Mumbai is the Hindi adaptation of the famous American series Modern Love, itself based on the famous New York Times column Modern Love. Besides Baai, it features five other stories from five directors – Raat Rani (Shonali Bose), Mumbai Dragon (Vishal Bhardwaj), My Beautiful Wrinkles (Alankrita Shrivastava), I Love Thane (Dhruv Sehgal) and Cutting Chai (Nupur Asthana).