Sarmad Khoosat considers not releasing Zindagi Tamasha amid growing threats

Sarmad Khoosat considers not releasing Zindagi Tamasha amid growing threats

You might not get to watch this, which is a tragedy, because this film was made for Pakistan, shared actor Eman Suleman.
Updated 20 Jan, 2020

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.


Yusuf Jan 20, 2020 11:27am
We MUST support Sarmad.
Retired Jan 20, 2020 12:01pm
Sheesh ..... nothing in the entire article on what makes the movie controversial? What is it about? Who is against it's release? I don't want the transcript but at least some synopsis please! The level of reporting is absolutely appalling!
Tejinder Pal Singh Jan 20, 2020 12:12pm
Time For PMIK to put money where his mouth is! All the claims of free and fair society, equality, freedom of press!!?? This is the reality of Pakistan and the reason why world doesnt pay attention when IK blabbers on!
Hamza Jan 20, 2020 12:52pm
Put it on netflix.
Mustafa Jan 20, 2020 12:52pm
this nation will never move forward. Everyday new farce.
B Singh Jan 20, 2020 01:27pm
"I did not make Zindagi Tamasha to hurt, offend or malign anyone" Looks like he has already hurt many people.
Farooq Jan 20, 2020 03:33pm
I am so sad as I was really looking forward to watching this movie. I request Sarmad khosat to reconsider his decision. And appeal to the concerned department in government to provide secure and conducive environment for release of this movie. Again, really sad
aijaz gul Jan 20, 2020 04:02pm
Everyone has a rigt to express his/her view. If filmgoers do not want to see a particular film, they have full right to do that. The film has been passed by CBFC with minor excisions. The film maker may now release the film .
Arshad Jan 20, 2020 04:18pm
This is so sad, but no surprise. In Pakistan, irrespective of intentions, content and presentation, if there is any attempt to sensitize, educate, or understand religion, a backlash from someone is almost inevitable. Particularly if the content comes from the so called English speaking liberals. I think it’s naive to think otherwise. This is also not restricted to filmmakers, but true for politicians, NGOs, writers and ordinary citizens of this country.
Shahid Khan Jan 20, 2020 04:54pm
Dear Sir Sarmad, I am heartbroken at this news. We do not deserve artists like yourselves. Like you did while making the movie, go with what your heart says. Our nation has no value for people like you. I just hope sanity prevails. Stay safe, Sir Sirmad.
Faisal Jan 20, 2020 05:52pm
I really want to see this movie.
Farhan Jan 20, 2020 06:24pm
I hope this isn't part of the publicity campaign for the movie
John Staroski, NY Jan 21, 2020 12:09am
"I did not make Zindagi Tamasha to hurt, offend or malign anyone," Then Why this chaos?
MBA Jan 21, 2020 03:29am
Now this comes very near to book burning by Nazis in Germany about 70 years ago. I am so sorry for Sarmad Khoosat and his team. A lot of hard work for nothing and this is our main problem: a lot of time lost on wrong problems, a lot of time invested to distruct good work done by another person in the country!
Dr Frank Jan 21, 2020 05:13am
Please don't give up. You must persist! You are an artist and a good one. Let the movie stir the collective consciousness of your fellow Muslims and Pakistanis. Their viewpoints need to progress. And to progress they must be confronted with challenging material that tests the flaws in their viewpoints. All the best!
Crazy GY Jan 21, 2020 09:21am
Thanks to all the film has been banned and not screened anymore
Syed Irfan Ali Jan 21, 2020 11:16am
Where is the government??
Jaf Jan 21, 2020 10:53pm
Thats weird!! how can one just stop a person from doing his business. Its against constitutional right of liberty given to citizens of Pakistan. PM should instruct his men to let the movie be released and let the public decide whether its good or bad.
Annie Syed Jan 22, 2020 08:04am
When not release it outside Pakistan, in UK, USA etc, and perhaps on Netflix? Such a shame that the street mafia holds so much power in Pakistan.
Aafiyat Nazar Jan 22, 2020 09:19am
Dark ages, particularly for Pakistan and generally for Muslims indeed