After penning an open letter to PM Imran Khan, Sarmad Khoosat has written another letter to his beloved Pakistan and Pakistanis.
The filmmaker took to Twitter to share with his followers how he's still getting dozens of threatening phone calls and messages and asked whether he should withdraw Zindagi Tamasha:
"I did not make Zindagi Tamasha to hurt, offend or malign anyone," he started off.
"It’s a story about a ‘good enough Muslim’ - there was/is no mention of a sect, party or faction of any sort. Neither in the uncensored version nor the censored one. If a bearded man is to be generically called a molvi, then trust me, this is/was a film about a good molvi. An empathetic and heartfelt story of a bearded an who is so much more than just that. He is a human being portrayed through a very humane eye. Well, forget it!"
"As an artist, the last thing I’d ever want to achieve through my artistic expression is anarchy or hatred. No! That’s not what an artist does. Or at least I don’t."
He went on to say how a friend has advised him to can the film, a film he's spent two years of his life and all his career savings on; Khoosat explains how that's easier said than done:
"Having said that, I don’t want anyone to have the pleasure of banning my film because legally, officially and morally, no one can…As a good, responsible citizen, I do not want my cities’ roads being blocked, people’s businesses and everyday routines disrupted or any other form of unneccesary toruble and chaos in the name of ‘just a film’."
You can sense the frustration in his words as he elaborates on how the movie had been cleared by all three censor boards after multiple viewings.
"The only censor cuts on the original version were some slang and colloquial words experessing anger. It never had any other ‘objectionable’ content," he revealed.
He talked about how he's a patriot, a man of faith and that we must not "spew hate, fear and anger in the name of religion". Concluding the four page note, he said he has left this up to his Allah now.
Taking to Facebook, Khoosat also shared one of the hundreds of menacing messages he's been receiving:
Zindagi Tamasha actor, Eman Suleman shared the director's note, adding, "I don’t know what to say except, I’m sorry you might not get to watch this, which is a tragedy, because this film was made for Pakistan."
Many extended their support, including Mahira Khan, Humayun Saeed and Mira Sethi among others:
Directed and co-produced by Sarmad, along with his sister, Kanwal Khoosat and written by NCA graduate Nirmal Bano, Zindagi Tamasha is a bilingual film, mostly shot in Lahore. The movie's cast includes Arif Hassan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleman and Ali Qureshi in pivotal roles and the soundtrack has been composed by Lux Style Award winners, Saakin.
Update: The Zindagi Tamasha team have cancelled all their meet and greets scheduled in Karachi.
“We would like to apologize to Karachi today because all the meet and greets with the cast and crew of Zindagi Tamasha have been cancelled for now.” the post went to say “We will hopefully reschedule the meet ups with you all. Love, team Khoosat Films," read the Facebook announcement.