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KARACHI: Some of those who reached the multiplex on Rashid Minhas Road on Sunday evening to attend the premiere for the film Parwaaz Hai Junoon received a bit of a shock to know that the event had been ‘cancelled’ because of ‘censor issues’. The following was written on the white board placed at the entrance to the formidable multiplex building: “It is to inform everyone that the premiere of Hum Films titled Parwaaz Hai Junoon has been cancelled due to the title not having been cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors Islamabad.”

It created confusion in the minds of cine-goers. The promotion for the film had been going on for the past few months, and it was slated to be released on Eidul Azha. If there were any censor issues, they should have been cleared much earlier.

Around 7:30pm a note from Hum TV’s media department was circulated through social media. According to it, it was the “unavoidable circumstances” that had caused the Karachi event to be cancelled, and insisted that “all other events and release date of the film remain unchanged.”

The word ‘unchanged’ further complicated the matter. If the project was to be screened on Eid, then it needed the go-ahead from the Islamabad board.

Sources say that the Sindh and Punjab censor boards had cleared the movie. In fact, a screening had also taken place in Karachi in which movie reviewers were given a chance to see the film. It was the board in Islamabad that had, apparently, an issue with a post-intermission scene in the film in which some characters are speaking in a particular accent.

Talking to Dawn, Censor Board Chairman Daniyal Gillani said: “Some members had raised an objection, about which I cannot tell you right now. We have called a meeting of the full board tomorrow (Monday), which will review the film, after which we are going to release a statement.”

Head of Hum Films, Badar Ikram, was also tight-lipped and a trifle more careful about the issue. He remarked: “There were certain things that Islamabad had to clear. That [process] got delayed. But we’re hopeful that by tomorrow noon (Monday) we will have the clearance. They [Islamabad] wanted consultation on certain things. Rest assured, it’s nothing drastic, they are minor things. They [Islamabad] have graciously accepted our request to review the movie. It’s a non-issue.”

If it were a non-issue, then sending the invitation to the premiere was not a wise idea. But then Punjab and Sindh censor boards had already green-lighted the project. The assumption would have been that the CBFC would do the same.

Directed by Haseeb Hassan, Parwaaz Hai Junoon has been projected as a tribute to the Pakistan Air Force. Its cast includes: Ahad Raza Mir, Hamza Ali Abbasi, Kubra Khan, Shaz Khan, Hania Amir, Farhan Ali Agha, Adnan Jaffer and Rachel Viccaji.

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2018