Shamoon Abbasi's upcoming film Durj banned in Pakistan

Shamoon Abbasi's upcoming film Durj banned in Pakistan

The film was initially cleared by Punjab and Sindh, but has been rejected by the federal censor board.
Updated 19 Oct, 2019

Actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming film Durj seems unlikely to be released in theatres across Pakistan as its censor approvals hit a snag.

Abbasi told Images the film was initially cleared by film censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but rejected by the federal censor board.

“Suddenly, something happened; [the clearances from Punjab and Sindh] got revoked and the ones pending were put on hold. This is what we know for now and definitely, we will have to counter the process.”

Slated for an October 11 international release, the film will simultaneously release in multiple countries including US, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. It was intended to be released on October 18 in Pakistan.

Abbasi is unsure what could have been objectionable in the film, which is based on the true story of a pair of brothers who dug up over 100 graves and cannibalised the corpses. He says the objection would be more understandable had there been a unanimous rejection from all four provincial censor boards as well as the federal censor board based in Islamabad.

“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched about the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.”

“It's a very sensitive film with no blood or gore, it’s not the type of film to be banned outright as such, so I am not sure what happened,” Abbasi added.

"Members of Central Board of Film Censors viewed the feature film as per prevalent censorship rules and did not consider it appropriate for public exhibition in cinema houses," Danyal Gilani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors, told Images.

Abbasi admitted that he and his team had not planned on releasing Durj in Pakistan at all, but decided to go ahead after receiving an overwhelming response when international release dates were announced.

“I said it will be released [in Pakistan], but honestly, we had a hunch that it could be a problem. But when it came to the censor board and — apart from two minor mute scenes — it was cleared, and we thought everything is fine because the film doesn't have that sort of blood and gore.”

Once a film is rejected clearance for release, there is a process in place to appeal the decision. Abbasi hopes it will work in his favour.

“All I can say is we need a final panel to review it and be kind to us one last time, and give us a reason why two boards approved it and one federal didn’t. That’s the confusion at the moment.”

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.


1000 Characters
Faizan Taqi Oct 04, 2019 03:14pm
Doesn't have unnecessary singing and dancing. No item song. No cheesy love story. No shaadis. BAN!
ahmad Oct 04, 2019 03:14pm
There's already a dearth of content to play in cinemas and the censor board is doing this. When films like conjuring and Annabelle can be screened, why is this banned
Shahbaz Ahmed Tarar Oct 04, 2019 03:24pm
What??? This is same like nobody knows about cannibalism in Pakistan, we never have watched such movies before... This is not fair, movie should be released and watched by people who want to watch it..
nam Oct 04, 2019 03:26pm
Due to IK, we are very happy indian films are not being released
Khatri Oct 04, 2019 04:16pm
The reason seems to be release in October following Halloween.
Shoaib Oct 04, 2019 04:36pm
where are artists to go if censor board keeps banning their films whimsically. Not all of us want entertainment films. Many of us like reality-based movies too.
Hasnain Tariq Oct 04, 2019 04:39pm
Our sensor boards just want money, invest your money in them and they will allow your movie. We are thinking of competing with India and look at these sensor boards of Pakistan. Pathetic
Sameer Oct 04, 2019 05:56pm
Same thing in all depts. Delay things without citing reason
Schabboo Khan Oct 04, 2019 06:08pm
" blood or gore" All I could see in the trailer was blood and gore.
Ahsan Gul Oct 04, 2019 06:28pm
May be this movie not suited as there are more than enough cannibal living in our society already.
Seedoo Oct 04, 2019 07:14pm
Censor board during Zia's time destroyed the film industry. Why are they hell bent on destroying this nascent industry which is trying to revive itself through creative films? Looks like we have not learned a thing
Ehsan Oct 04, 2019 07:27pm
Censor should give a good explanation and a way to revoke the ban.
KK Oct 04, 2019 07:50pm
The story seams to be copy of real happening during British India , probebly btween 190 0 & 30s . One police officer received complain that some one is desecrating newly buried corps in Lalen village area. He investigated and found out that two men come at night and steal the corps from graves and take them to mughopir area , they were caught but were not charged for the reason they did not speak at all.
Mani Oct 04, 2019 07:55pm
Censor board should be dismantled. It's become obsolete. There is no place for it in today's times where any one can access any type of video online.
A Pakistani Oct 04, 2019 08:22pm
Change for the sake of change is chaotic at best. We don't need such morbid issues to be put into film, correct decision by Federal censor board.
Muzammal Ali Oct 05, 2019 12:17am
Pakistani - wrong turn …
faheem khan Oct 05, 2019 02:08am
Corrupt censor board wants Rs.
Jawad Asif Oct 05, 2019 09:47am
These sensor boards should be abolished
Indian Oct 05, 2019 11:34am
>“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched about the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.” Most of Pakistanis has stone age mentality. They won't understand anything above. Ignore and Move on.
Najeeb Khan Oct 05, 2019 12:00pm
Films are meant to provide entertainment, or to convey a social or moral message. I see no logical reason to portray such a heinous and repugnant topic for public display in the form of a film. I am glad that the Central Censor Board acted sensibly in preventing such a gory topic from public display. I am sure Shamoon Abbasi can use his talents for picking another worthy topic for his next film. This particular theme is so horrible that even thinking about it sends a chill through the spine.
Addendum Oct 05, 2019 12:12pm
This movie serves absolutely no purpose except sensationalism.
Kamran Oct 05, 2019 01:28pm
This is another department that should be dissolved . Totally out of time with times . Why can’t they just put a rating to it and people watch if they want . We are already viewing anything we want via internet. Amazing stupidity at display
Kamran Oct 05, 2019 01:29pm
@faheem khan : probably. Most likely a bunch of middle aged men with nothing to in life but take bribes and ban films . How dare they put an industry hostage to their whims . Pls make visible the objection or suffer
Rubina Oct 05, 2019 08:52pm
@KK Its a real life story based in Pakistan. We must support local content
Diya Oct 07, 2019 04:51am
Film Durj must be released Please
Hassan Oct 07, 2019 06:58pm
@nam :This is a Pakistani film..
HashBrown® Oct 19, 2019 06:09pm
@Indian "Most of Pakistanis has stone age mentality." If we're in the Stone Age, and you guys are desperately following our news and clinging onto everything we say and do, how much more backward are you? Give it some thought and get back to me.