Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha might have been through the ringer but hey, there’s a silver lining. Despite the movie not having seen the light of the day in Pakistan, it has been receiving appreciation and acclaim internationally.
Following the movie as Pakistan's official entry to Oscars, it has now bagged the Snow Leopard Award for Best Film at the 6th Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) held on March 15. Director Sarmad Sultan Khoosat received the award from jury member Luba Balagova Kandoor.
Arif Hassan was awarded Best Actor award for his performance in the film.
According to the official synopsis, Zindagi Tamasha, or Circus of Life as it is known, is "an intimate portrait of a family as well as a scorching political commentary on little gods on this earth who police our private passions.”
Unfortunately, Pakistanis haven't gotten the chance to watch the movie yet. Zindagi Tamasha was slated to be 2020's first Pakistani film release, meant to hit cinemas on January 24. However, it has been stopped from being released, despite being cleared by multiple censor boards twice and it's fate still hangs in the balance.
Khoosat, who had gone to the extent of writing a letter to the Prime Minister Imran Khan, had opened up about the threats he was receiving pre-release.
"I did not make Zindagi Tamasha to hurt, offend or malign anyone," he had said. "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!"
Actor Eman Suleman too shared the director's sentiments, 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."