As largely expected, Akshay Kumar starrer Baby will not be seeing the light of day in Pakistan as the censor board of Islamabad and Karachi decided not to screen the film owing to its controversial content.
A representative of the film's distributor, Everready Pictures informed Dawn that the film has been banned in Pakistan.
“Censor boards in Islamabad and Karachi have decided to ban the film because it portrays a negative image of Muslims and the negative characters in the film also have Muslim names. CDs and DVDs of the film have also been banned in Islamabad. The company has taken a similar stance on this issue and will not go-ahead with its release.”
Fakhr-e-Alam, who is the Chairman of the Censor Board also tweeted about the board's decision:
Earlier, director Neeray Pandey was quoted as saying that the film was not “anti-Pakistan.”
The film stars famed Pakistani TV drama actor Mikaal Zulfiqar as well as Rasheed Naz, who played the villanous cleric in Shoaib Mansoor's Khuda Ke Liye.
Baby addresses the issue of terrorism and highlights the life of undercover agents who become the unsung heroes of nation.
Although, the film was set to release on January 23 across Pakistan, cinemas in Karachi had removed it from their websites leading to speculations about its imminent screening.
The board routinely bans films deemed to have 'anti-Pakistan' themes. Most recently, the board banned Haider which recasts the Shakespeare play Hamlet into an Indian counter-insurgency against Kashmiri militants fighting for independence or to join Pakistan.
In the past, the local censor board has also banned Ek Tha Tiger, the Katrina Kaif starrer that featured her in the avatar of an Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent.
Talking about his stunts in the upcoming Baby, Akshay in an interview said, "Neeraj has a thing for logical things, so all my fight sequences are very believable. For my film Holiday last year, I performed stunts that went a little overboard, but keeping Hindi cinema in mind, we had to do them."
Anupam Kher, who plays a pivotal role in the thriller, also praises the quintessential action star: "This is one of Akshay’s best performances so far!"
Talking about the film, producer Bhushan Kumar said, "Baby will be our first action-thriller and it is definitely a unique film. It has an edginess, fast-paced action sequences and has been shot par excellence."