Updated Feb 08, 2017 12:20pm

Central censor board at odds with provincial bodies over Raees

The provincial censor boards in Punjab and Sindh were at odds with the country’s central censor board that refused to give the Shah Rukh and Mahira Khan starrer Raees the go-ahead for screenings across Pakistan, it emerged on Tuesday.

According to a source, the Punjab and Sindh censor boards had passed the film without any cuts but said that they would issue a certificate after consulting the Central Board of Film Censors in Islamabad.

After a full-board meeting which is usually reserved for appeals, however, the central board decided not to issue Raees a certificate on Monday for "inappropriate content."

The source explained that after the 18th Amendment, the Sindh and Punjab boards did not need to consult with Islamabad nor did the central board have any authority over the provincial boards.

The Punjab and Sindh censor boards had passed Raees without any cuts but waited for the Central Board of Film Censors' decision before issuing a certificate. “This is very unusual,” a source said, because “the Sindh and Punjab boards are independent."

“This is very unusual,” the source added. “The Sindh and Punjab boards are independent. The central board claims that the film is anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan."

This comes a little less than a week after the government decided to carry on with the policy to screen international films, which basically means that Indian films can now be shown after the self-imposed ban by Pakistani cinema owners on screening them.

Cine-goers received a bit of a surprise when on Feb 6 the media reported that Pakistan’s Censor Board had not given Raees the green light for its Pakistan release – the film was scheduled to hit the theatres in the second week of this month.

The film that was released immediately after the government’s decision, Kaabil with Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautum as its protagonists, is running in multiplexes and single screens, and doing alright at the box office.

Talking business

Talking to Dawn about the Raees ban, Cinepax GM Marketing Mohsin Yaseen said, “The Censor Board has told us what made them took the decision. If the board has not allowed it to be screened here, then it must have thought the issue through. It’s okay. There are other films coming up… like Balu Mahi, John Wick and Jolly LLB.”

Mandviwalla Entertainment Chief Executive Nadeem Mandviwalla said, “The government has found it unfit for exhibition, so it is unfit for exhibition. The members of the Censor Board debated the subject therefore automatically we have to rely on that. As far as business is concerned, there are other films which are going to be released soon.”

Cinema talkies

Film director Syed Noor has often raised his voice against the screening of Indian films in Pakistan.

He does not think that the survival of Pakistani cinemas depends on Indian movies. He said, “If cinema survival depends on Indian films, then how will the Pakistan film industry survive? The government should think about its own films. They have not issued any statement in the last 70 years for its own film industry.”

Renowned cultural critic Nadeem Farooq Paracha said, “I do not watch Indian films, anyway, so I’m not in a position to say anything.”

Actor Behroze Sabzwari talked about Pakistani actress Mahira Khan who stars opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Raees. “From the relatively smaller world of television, she got a chance to work with an Indian superstar.”

Ms Khan could not go to India for the promotion of the film because of the ban imposed on Pakistani artists by Indian producers.

Originally published in Dawn February 8th, 2017

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Comments (25) Closed



KT Feb 08, 2017 11:22am

If decision is delayed the approval will be of no use as majority of viewers may have watched pirated prints someone will hardly come to watch movie in theaters. Mahiras fans cannot stand too long to watch her performance !

Niaz H. Jafri Feb 08, 2017 12:52pm

Weird situation

AW Feb 08, 2017 12:59pm

Censor board should rate the films for the benefit of the public as it is done in the other developed countries but should not have the authority to ban them. Public can decide what to watch and the government should stop acting as the parent

MJ Khan Feb 08, 2017 01:04pm

Better watch John Wick 2.

Sarah Feb 08, 2017 01:08pm

Well obviously the cinema owners cannot say anything against the censor boards or they'll get in trouble. I'd say just let it go really. Majority has already watched it.

Junaid Feb 08, 2017 01:24pm

I think there are bigger issues for the govt..than banning films!

changez khan Feb 08, 2017 01:32pm

Stop playing politics let the film be screened in all theaters.

Ashraf Feb 08, 2017 01:39pm

Let them ban it. Our movies are better

Zain Feb 08, 2017 02:11pm

Please stop watching Indian movies. There should be a blanket ban on all Indian "entertainment" content in Pakistan.

Brahmdgh Feb 08, 2017 02:12pm

Keep it banned

Kappa Feb 08, 2017 02:13pm

Pretty sure the people behind Balu Mahi had this done! If Raees had released beside Balu Mahi, no one would have watched Balu Mahi.

YOURSTRULY Feb 08, 2017 02:44pm

@KT Honestly, you guys aren't going to lose much by not watching it. It's a hopelessly boring movie.

timetostopthis Feb 08, 2017 04:08pm

You are not doing any one any favour by banning this film. In fact you re only harming your own film industry which is in the doldrums and needs Indian films to survive. Banning this film is like cutting your nose to spite your face. Hope better sense prevails before its too late.

Ahmad Feb 08, 2017 04:14pm

@Zain Can you explain why Sir ?

Zaha Feb 08, 2017 04:21pm

Everybody in Pakistan says they don't watch Indian films, then it amazes me who really watches Indian films? C'mon people, we have same choices, we all can relate ourselves more with any Indian films rather than Hollywood or Chinese or Turkish films.

Awesome Lyrics Feb 08, 2017 04:39pm

@Zain How about letting the mature public decide what to watch and what not to watch?

mulchand golchha Feb 08, 2017 04:40pm

@Zain Do it immediately ... Ban is the best solution.

raja hindustani Feb 08, 2017 06:04pm

@Zain : Pakistan film industry is not making enough number of movie, so Indian movie are filling the gaps. If you do not release Indian movie then your theater will go empty for half of the year which will adversely impact theater owners and which may leads to closure of few/many theater. Here, you can't even import Chinese movie as you will NOT get enough audience for that..

Jamshid Feb 08, 2017 08:56pm

I'm astonished with the government of pakistan decision to impose ban on the SRK movie. The movie should have been released on last weekend. Mostly people have watched the movie, I would say this is totally injustice

Jamshid Feb 08, 2017 09:00pm

There are many anti state and pornography websites which can be accessed easily in pakistan. The govt should take action against those website rather than banning on indian movies

Hamid Gul Feb 09, 2017 01:38am

Most of us have seen the movie, enjoyed. Now you can ban it.

Kerala Feb 09, 2017 08:15am

@Zain I agree with you. Please ban Indian movies in Pakistan.

rahul1 Feb 09, 2017 02:01pm

Intolerant state!

shahid Feb 09, 2017 03:47pm

@rahul1 Look who's talking!

rajainder r sankepally Feb 14, 2017 07:58am

@Zain then most of theaters in Pakistan will be shut down for want movies.