2022 has been revolutionary for art and culture in Pakistan, says Joyland’s Saim Sadiq

2022 has been revolutionary for art and culture in Pakistan, says Joyland’s Saim Sadiq

For Sadiq, a new year means that talented people will get opportunities and a chance to display their talent.
02 Jan, 2023

2022 brought many surprises, but one of the biggest was the blockbusters churned out by Pakistan’s film industry. This includes Saim Sadiq’s Joyland that brought home recognition and accolades from around the world. During a New Years interview with CNN, Joyland’s director Sadiq expressed gratitude and said “it feels great” to be making history as the first Pakistani film to make it to Oscars shortlist.

On New Year’s Eve, Sadiq appeared on CNN where he was asked about the importance of the storytelling and the story that Joyland was based on. “I think every story, if it’s told honestly, is important then this one is no different. I think the difference with this film versus perhaps a lot of other Pakistani films that certain people may have seen, is that it’s perhaps the most realistic depiction of what our society’s like, without a romantic depiction of anything. It’s not something that other people are used to seeing on the big screen, which is a reflection of ourselves. Which can be very heartening but can also be very uncomfortable to watch,” Sadiq said.

Joyland’s team grew prior to its release in Pakistan — Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai joined on the executive producer. But not many know the experience of having her behind the screen. The host asked Sadiq about his experience of working with Yousafzai.

“It’s been really amazing. It’s probably the most star-struck moment of my life to meet her because she’s younger than me but so much bigger than me and that I’ll ever be. I think I met her three or four months ago for the first time and she was the most humble human being, you know so simple and diligent about wanting to do right by the film. It was really a learning experience and it has been. She’s really lovely and friendly but so humble and down-to-earth,” he said.

Sadiq was asked about the offerings he hopes to receive from the people of Pakistan this year. While his movie may have created a buzz around the world, even more so after Joyland made it to Oscars shortlist for International Feature Film, for the filmmaker one should keep “expectations in check because one year is too little time”.

“Every year on New Year’s Eve we forget that it takes more than just one year to change things. But I think the past year has been really sort of revolutionary for art and for culture in Pakistan where so many artists, whether it’s music or movies or television, have broken out and sort of claimed our space, internationally and nationally. 2023 for me is just an exciting time to see how those artists are joined by many more from Pakistan,” he said.

For him, a new year means that “talented people” will get opportunities and a chance to display their talent. “For me it’s just an exciting time to see what’s next, what’s the next new big song or next big movie that’s going to come out of Pakistan, for the world and Pakistan,” he concluded.

What happened with Joyland’s release in Pakistan?

Joyland’s release in Pakistan was a tricky affair. After being cleared by the censor board, it was declared “uncertified” for containing “highly objectionable material” that went against Pakistani society’s “social values and moral standards”. After facing backlash by celebrities and the public for this decision, PM Shehbaz Sharif formed a committee to review this decision and the ban was rescinded. Punjab reinstated the ban in its jurisdiction though the film was released everywhere else and got glowing reviews.

Saidiq’s Joyland has achieved a lot of milestones before getting shortlisted for Oscars this year. It was the first film from Pakistan to make it to the Cannes Film Festival where it won awards and received a standing ovation. And since then, it has been to several international film festivals, earning prestige all over.


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Adeel Jan 02, 2023 02:36pm
No it hasn't. Pakistan is a backward country and will continue to stay that way.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Jan 02, 2023 02:37pm
Joke of the century.
Jigen.m19 Jan 02, 2023 05:36pm
Transsexuality is revolutionary? Sure if you plan to impress your western liberal masters
Ahmed Jan 02, 2023 11:11pm
Which Pakistan are you taking about? Nothing of substance has happened in this field in Pakistan. Have you ever gone to school?
Haniya Ahmed Jan 03, 2023 03:59am
The way this film has achieved to be nominated for Oscar within no time it reflects that it is a foreign funded movie.
Zeba Manssor Ali Jan 03, 2023 04:05am
@Adeel By accepting ways which are against the nature people like you feel that we will become advanced. Anything which is against our society, culture, values, & Islam does not mean that it is a key to success. We need to open our minds and understand the difference between right and wrong.
Jahan Ara Jan 03, 2023 04:09am
Not at all surprised to know that this low budget hardly recognised production has been nominated for Oscar. Even if it is going to get an award it wouldn’t come as a surprise, as anything which is against our culture or religion is always appreciated by the west. Hopes are very high that it will get an oscar as well. What a joke!