A scene from Dalam Botol
A controversial film about a man who undergoes gender reassignment surgery and then regrets his choice is a hit in its home country of Malaysia, earning around $417,600 in its first five days of release.
The film Dalam Botol, or Inside a Bottle, has been dubbed Malaysia’s first gay-themed film and tells the story of a “gay” man who changes his gender in a bid to satisfy his male lover.
Homosexuality is illegal in the predominantly Muslim nation of Malaysia and censors usually ban films with gay themes.
While some see the film’s release as a positive step forward for the country, others have slammed the movie because it ends with the character of Rubidin (Arja Lee) realising that she was better off as a man and falling in love with a girl.
Last year, the Malaysian Film Censorship Board announced it would allow the depiction of gay characters in films, as long as the characters end up repenting or becoming straight.
The film’s producer, Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman, confirmed that the movie’s message is ultimately an anti-gay one.
“For me, this film is my soapbox to remind society not to be influenced by gay culture, which is considered taboo in this country,” she told the Star.
Malaysia was recently in the news over local radio stations censoring Lady Gaga’s hit, Born This Way, by distorting its pro-gay lyrics.
Homosexuality carries penalties of up to 20 years in jail in Malaysia.