Highlights

  • Oscar entry film 'Joyland' banned by Pakistani authorities
  • The film was banned to avoid backlash by conservative elements in the country
  • Saim Sadiq's directorial debut was scheduled to release in Pakistan on November 18

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Pakistan bans its official Oscar entry 'Joyland' over 'highly objectionable material'

Saim Saqid's critically-acclaimed Oscar entry film 'Joyland' has been banned by Pakistani authorities allegedly over 'highly objectionable material'.

Saim Saqid's critically-acclaimed film 'Joyland' has been banned by Pakistani authorities allegedly over 'highly objectionable material'. The film is Pakistan's official entry to Oscars 2023 and has been acclaimed world over in film festivals.

A certificate was issued by the government clearing the movie for public viewing on August 17 this year. However, recently, objections were raised over its contents which led the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ban the film to avoid backlash by conservative elements in the country.

The ministry in its notification of November 11 said that written complaints were received regarding film's highly objectionable material which do not conform with the social values and moral standards of society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of decency and morality as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance of 1979.

Saim Sadiq's directorial debut was scheduled to release in theatres in Pakistan on November 18. The film narrates the story of a family's youngest son who secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for a transwoman. ‘Joyland’ stars Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada and Sohail Sameer.

Several people have criticised the film’s ban. Actor Sarwat Gilani has slammed the Pakistani authorities for caving into pressure from ‘some malicious people’. ‘Shameful that a Pakistani film made by 200 Pakistanis over 6 years that got standing ovations from Toronto to Cairo to Cannes is being hindered in its own country. Don’t take away this moment of pride and joy from our people! No one’s forcing anyone to watch it! So don’t force anyone to not watch it either! Pakistani viewers are smart enough to know what they want to watch or not. Let Pakistanis decide! Don’t insult their intelligence and our hard work!,’ she tweeted.

‘Joyland’ is Pakistan’s first film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and Queer Palm award. The film was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

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