Dubai: ‘Lungis' have been banned from a Dubai cinema after complaints that the dress was a little too racy, a cinema manager said.

Bollywood Cinemas' manager said women — and men — had complained men were coming to the theatre with "half mast" lungis, which effectively turns them into loincloths or short skirts.

A lungi is a long cloth tied at the waist and is popular in south India. It is normally worn "full mast" — down to the ankles.  

"Husbands complained, ‘how can we bring our wives and kids here?'," said the manager.

"Even Emiratis wear lungis — but under their kandouras. They are home clothes, not something you come to a cinema in. Many families were uncomfortable so we asked people to wear pants."

Notices in South Indian languages have been put up at the cinema in Al Quoz Mall where labourers in lungis are commonplace. Ironically the theatre regularly screens south Indian movies featuring lungi-clad stars.

"I don't get it, what's wrong with what I'm wearing?" said a worker in a lungi. "We make up most of the customers, so why are they treating us like this? Families only come on weekends."

Lungis have been targeted in Sharjah too, where they fell foul of "decency laws."

Lungi fans are, however, not amused. "By that logic, women in revealing clothes should also be stopped from coming to shows," a used-cardboard collector said.

The manager said white dhotis, a close cousin of lungis, will be allowed during Indian cultural festivals. "White dhotis have an executive look," he said.

Harvard-educated Indian home minister P. Chidambaram dons a dhoti at work.