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Pakistan To Release Its Oscar 2023 Entry Film ‘Joyland’ After “Minor Cuts”. All You Need To Know About This Controversy

November 16, 2022 | by Janvi Manchanda

It’s not uncommon to come across films that have been banned by certain countries or states for various but kaafi pointless reasons. We’ve heard some truly absurd reasons behind a film being banned but this one beats all others. Recently, a Pakistani Punjabi-language film, Joyland was banned by the country. But the film was also Pakistan’s official entry for Oscar 2023 for the category of Best International Feature Film. And now after a review, the ban on the film has been revoked allowing it to be released in theatres across Pakistan.

The film was banned for containing “objectionable” content but the country’s ban on its own Oscar 2023 entry was criticised after which Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered a review of the ban. A committee was set up for the review and as per the current reports, following a complete review by the board, the film has been cleared for release across the country with some “minor cuts”. The Prime Minister’s advisor Salman Sufi shared the news on Twitter while adding that freedom of speech is a fundamental right that should be nourished by the law.

Why Was Joyland Banned By Pakistan?

Written and directed by Saim Sadiq, Joyland stars Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq and Sarwat Gilani. The film was scheduled to release in Pakistan on November 18, 2022, but was banned despite being critically acclaimed on an international level. The reason? The film was banned owing to complaints from religious leaders who termed it objectionable due to the queer theme. Joyland, reportedly, follows the story of a boy from a conservative, orthodox, religious and rather patriarchal family but chooses to follow his dream by secretly joining an erotic dance theatre. He soon falls for a trans woman.

Religious groups and leaders in Pakistan have called this film “highly objectionable material” and have also claimed that it promotes homosexuality. FYI, before the objections raised by religious leaders, the Pakistani authorities granted Joyland a certificate permitting it to be screened across the country earlier in August but it was revoked after objections were raised against the film’s content.

Soon after the ban on the Oscar 2023 entry film, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s advisor, Salman Sufi shared that a high-level committee is being formed to assess the film and review the ban as the PM has ordered a review of the ban on the country’s Oscar 2023 entry film Joyland. The committee will reportedly evaluate the merits and demerits of the film’s release in Pakistan and take a call. The committee comprises the minister for political affairs and economic affairs, the law and justice chairperson, the minister for communications, the minister for board of investment and the minister for information and broadcasting among others.

On the other hand, the director of the film Saim Sadiq called the ban “unconstitutional and illegal”. He also stated that the team feels “gutted” by the ban and plan to raise their voices against the “injustice”.

 

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Also Read: Desi Girl Priyanka Chopra Says It Is Heartening To See Asian Talent Getting Recognition At Cannes 2022

Joyland Took Pakistan Cinema Global

Joyland was the first Pakistani film to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and also received a standing ovation. It has also received some top global awards including Cannes Film Festival’s LGBTQ+ prize, the Queer Plam. Joyland received acclaim from international critics after its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and the American Film Institute Festival. It also won the Best Film From The Subcontinent in August at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.

We truly hope and pray the country lifts the ban on the film’s screening in the country and allows some progressive cinema to grow and reach audiences.

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Janvi Manchanda

Janvi uses her pen to smash the patriarchy. Geet one day and Wednesday Addams the next. Writing is the bane of her existence and the object of all her desires!

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