'Joyland': Why Pakistan halted official Oscars entry's release, reversed decision?
Pakistani film Joyland, which marks the directorial debut of Saim Sadiq is now set to get a theatrical release in the country after it was banned from being premiered briefly. Produced by Sarmad Khoosat, Joyland is Pakistan's official entry for Oscars 2023. The ban on its premiere was imposed a week before the film's scheduled date of release. Read on to know more.
Why does this story matter?
- Joyland already made the headlines by becoming the first-ever film from Pakistan to be screened at Cannes Film Festival.
- Not just that, Joyland also received a prolonged standing ovation after its screening. It also won the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category.
- Apart from these, it also won the Queer Palm award, an independent prize for films on LGBTQ+ at Cannes.
Why was the film banned in Pakistan?
Slated to be released on Friday, a ban was imposed on the film by the country's Ministry of Broadcasting and Information. The ministry even declared Joyland as an "uncertified film for cinemas in Pakistan that fall under the Central Board of Film Censor's jurisdiction." Pakistan has three censor boards and the film was later cleared by all three boards with minor edits.
What did the officials say about the ban?
About the ban, Salman Sufi, an aide to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif tweeted on Wednesday that the film will go under the scanner of the censor board, following which a revised decision would be made. Later, on the same day, he tweeted, "The film #Joyland has been cleared for release by the Censor board review committee formed at the direction of PM @CMShehbaz."
Read Sufi's tweet here
The film #Joyland has been cleared for release by the Censor board review committee formed at the direction of PM @CMShehbaz— Salman Sufi (Get New Covid Booster Today) (@SalmanSufi7) November 16, 2022
Freedom of speech is fundamental right should be nourished within ambits of the law. #JoylandBan https://t.co/vQodv7fjOk
Filmmaker earlier condemned the ban
Set in Lahore, Joyland revolves around a boy who secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls in love with a trans woman, who also works there. According to media reports, some religious groups in Pakistan have accused the filmmakers of promoting homosexuality with Joyland. However, filmmaker Sadiq denied the claims saying that the ban was "unconstitutional and illegal."