• Monday, March 04, 2024


Pakistani film Joyland gets censor nod for screening after cutting some scenes

The Pakistani-produced film was banned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after receiving complaints that it contains ‘highly objectionable content and repugnant material’

Joyland Poster

By: Mohnish Singh

Pakistani film ‘Joyland’ which received multiple international awards has finally got the green signal from the censor board of Pakistan after cutting a few scenes, Geo News reported.

The full board has allowed the local screening of Joyland, which was banned earlier, after deleting some parts. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif formed a cabinet committee to look into the matter after some schools of thought had objected to the movie. The film is set in Lahore and revolves around the story of the youngest son of a middle-class patriarchal Rana family, who joins theatre and falls in love with a transgender starlet.

A week earlier, the Pakistani-produced film was banned by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting after receiving complaints that it contains ‘highly objectionable content and repugnant material’, and it became a victim of transphobia in Pakistan, Asian Lite reported.

The Ministry notified that “Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable content which does not conform with the social norms, ethical values and moral standards of our society.” It further stated that this movie is repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979.

This is not the first time that Pakistan has banned a movie on the pretext of ‘objectionable content or repugnant material.’ The very first movie on the list was ‘Jago Hua Savera'(1950), a drama film directed by AJ Kardar based on the struggles of a poor fishing village in former East Pakistan, according to Asian Lite.

So far 21 such movies have been banned including Among the Believers (2019), The Blood of Hussain (1980), Aurat Raj (1979), Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of A Serial Killer (2019), and many more.

Homosexuality seems to be an “open secret” that exists, everyone knows but no one is ready to recognise it. Earlier, in Pakistan, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act of 2018 promises citizens their right to self-identify as male, female, or a blend of both genders, and to have their identity registered on all official documents, together with passports, National Identification Cards, driving licenses and educational certificates. And this was passed by the Parliament in May 2018, reported Asian Lite.

But new debates around this started in September 2022, in which critics opposed a specific clause that stipulates that “a transgender person shall have a right to be recognized as per his or her self-perceived gender identity.”

Clerics have also condemned this clause, causing Senator Mushtaq from Jamaat-e-Islami, to file a petition in the Federal Shariat Court. This court is separate from civil courts and has the authority to examine whether certain laws comply with Islam.
The state and society of Pakistan perpetually remain in denial of recognizing the presence of its LGBTQ+ populace, not only has such denial upheld the criminalization of homosexuality but also continues to police LGBTQ+ identities within an obsolete framework, as per the Asian Lite report.


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