ACCORDING to the head of the censor board, the film can be screened “from tomorrow if they wish”.—AFP
ACCORDING to the head of the censor board, the film can be screened “from tomorrow if they wish”.—AFP

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday clea­red a controversial but critically acclaimed film Joyland — Pakistan’s official entry for Oscars 2023 — after omitting some “objectionable and immoral” scenes from it.

An eight-member review committee set up by the prime minister on Tuesday “cleared the film after deleting some objectionable scenes in it”, Hafiz Tahir Khalil, a senior journalist who was part of the committee, told Dawn.

Salman Sufi, head of the Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms, also confirmed that the government had decided to clear the film for release after a second review by the committee. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and should be nourished within ambits of the law,” he tweeted.

Joyland, directed by Saim Sadiq, won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and the unofficial Queer Palm at Cannes in May. It was then submitted to the 95th Academy Awards, to be held in March, as Pakistan’s official entry for the international feature film award.

According to the Academy, the film needs to be in cinemas for at least seven days before Nov 30 to remain a contender.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif formed an eight-member committee to look into complaints that the film was “against social and moral norms” and recommend follow-up action.

The committee concluded that certain scenes needed to be edited out of the film and decided to clear the film for release. However, the government did not immediately withdraw the notification of its ‘uncertified’ status.

However, Muhammad Tahir Hassan, head of the Central Board of Film Cen­sors, told AFP news agency late on Wednesday that “there is no hindrance from the board for its screening”. He said: “The distributors can screen the film from tomorrow morning if they wish.”

The committee was for­med after a massive outcry on social media at Joyland’s censorship certificate being withdrawn. The film was passed by all censor boards in the country but fell into trouble after complaints were filed to the Central Board of Film Censors.

The Ministry of Infor­mation and Broadcasting recently cancelled the film’s exhibition licence and the federal government declared Joyland “uncertified” after receiving complaints.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Crisis conference
Updated 04 Feb, 2023

Crisis conference

PTI's refusal to engage with the govt in such testing times will only be seen as sign of ideological bankruptcy.
Revenge politics
04 Feb, 2023

Revenge politics

A SENSE of déjà-vu prevails as cases pile up against PTI politicians, many of whom, along with their allies and...
Inappropriate remarks
04 Feb, 2023

Inappropriate remarks

OFFICIALS of the state, especially when representing the country at international forums, need to choose their words...
Delay in the offing?
Updated 03 Feb, 2023

Delay in the offing?

Govt must realise that political stability in the country cannot be achieved by extra-constitutional actions.
Divisions in PML-N
03 Feb, 2023

Divisions in PML-N

DISCORD and drama in PML-N ranks escalated this week when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi revealed he no longer holds a party...
Wikipedia ‘downgrade’
03 Feb, 2023

Wikipedia ‘downgrade’

ATTEMPTS to police the internet by states, often by giving opaque justifications for the action, are never a good...