Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors is back at it again, most recently banning a Bollywood horror film called Pari. The film is a supernatural horror film that’s directed by Prosit Roy and stars Anushka Sharma.
The film, released on March 2, 2018, runs for 134 minutes and is in Hindi.
Reports suggest the latest Bollywood film to be banned in Pakistan, a total of nine films have been banned in 15 months, was banned due to its use and promotion of black magic. The film reportedly goes against Islamic values, which have also contributed to the film being banned.
A member for the Central Board of Film Censors gave credence to these reports, claiming that the movie “promotes thoughts that are contradictory to our religion.” The film is said to “promote” black magic to viewers.
“Imported film #Pari has been declared ‘Unfit’ for public exhibition by a panel followed by #CBFC’s Full Board review as it flouts various sections of the existing rules and code of #CBFC. Innumerable dialogues & scenes r against the established religious, social and moral ethos,” tweets Mobashir Hasan.
Pakistan has three movie boards that often don’t work closely together. The boards will ultimately send all of their recommendations to the central board where movies are stalled. Provisional boards exist in Sindh and Punjab that work to offload some of the work of the central board.
Provisional boards will often remove scenes from movies before they’re sent to the central board. The lack of coordination between the three entities results in the central board rejecting many films even after severe editing has been done.
Filmmakers in Pakistan, such as Habibullah Afridi, are working to promote love and spread peace with a focus on Pashtuns.
Bollywood films have been a main target of film bans in Pakistan with nine main films banned in the last 15 months.
Prior to Pari, PadMan was banned in February 2018. The film, also deemed to be against the “traditions and culture” of Pakistan, starred Akshay Kumar. The film was aimed at creating awareness for menstrual hygiene and is a comedy-drama. The film revolves around the life of Arunachalam, social activist, that created low-cost sanitary pads.
Tiger Zinda Hai was banned in December 2017. The action film featured a very prominent actor in Pakistan: Salman Khan. The movie’s prequel, which was released in 2012, was also banned in Pakistan. The film was banned because it evidently showed law enforcement and national security agencies in a demeaning manner.
Partition: 1947 is another film that was banned in August 2017. The film is said to be a misrepresentation of Jinnah. The historical drama revolves around the story of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Jinnah wanted to make a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. There was no mention of how the movie misrepresents the story of Jinnah.
Pakistan was once a major importer of Bollywood movies, with Bollywood movies contributing to 60% to 70% of the film exhibition business in the country. A blanket ban against Bollywood was imposed in 2016, leading to several films being banned.