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Pakistan: Censor board bans Oscar contender Joyland over 'objectionable material', celebrities demand release Joyland
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Pakistan: Censor board bans Oscar contender Joyland over 'objectionable material', celebrities demand release

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 14 Nov 2022, 09:36 am

Islamabad: Pakistani movie Joyland, which has been selected for the Oscars and hailed for its storyline centering around a transgender love affair, has been banned by the country's censor board, media reports said on Monday.

The movie was scheduled to release on Nov 18. The film's portrayal of a love affair between a man and a transgender woman is cited to be the reason behind the ban as it is blamed for containing  ‘highly objectionable material’.

Joyland is a 2022 Pakistani Punjabi-language drama film written and directed by Saim Sadiq in his feature film directorial debut.

On November 11th, an order was issued from the Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which clearly stated that censor board gave a green signal to the film earlier but now they have revised their decision, reports Geo News.

The censor board has been receiving complaints that the film contains highly objectionable material; therefore the board has imposed a ban on the nationwide release of Joyland, the Pakistani news channel reported.

Actor Sarwat Gilani, who is one of the main stars of Joyland, tweeted: "There’s a paid smear campaign doing rounds against #Joyland, a film that made history for Pakistani cinema, got passed by all censor boards but now authorities are caving into pressure from some malicious people who have not even seen the film. #ReleaseJoyland @MoIB_Official."

She said: "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! #ReleaseJoyland@MoIB_Official@GovtofPakistan."

She asked authorities not to take away the moment of joy from the 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!" she said.

Actor Sanam Saeed said there is no reason behind not allowing the release of the movie.

" #ReleaseJoyland ! There is no reason not to. Be proud of the work that our artists create not afraid! Give your own people the respect they get in foreign lands. Support us, stand by us and we as Pakistani artists will make this country proud!" she posted on Twitter.

Author Fatima Bhutto  described the censorship on the movie as 'senseless'.

"The censorship of Joyland is senseless. Pakistan is teeming with artists, filmmakers, writers and has a cultural richness and more importantly bravery that the world admires. A smart state would celebrate & promote this not silence and threaten it," she said.

The film starring Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, and Sarwat Gilani centers on the extended patriarchal Ranas family, who yearn for the birth of another boy.  

This film was selected as the Pakistani entry for Best International Feature Film at 95th Academy Awards.