Pakistan Lifts Ban On Official Oscar Entry Joyland, Film To Release On November 18 As Scheduled

New Delhi: Pakistan government has lifted the ban on filmmaker Saim Sadiq’s critically-acclaimed film ‘Joyland’. The film is Pakistan’s official entry for the upcoming 2023 Academy Award. The decision came days after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had banned the film alleging that it contains “highly objectionable material”.

On Wednesday, Pakistani journalist Rafay Mahmood informed about the lifting of the ban in his tweet. He tweeted, “After the full board review by the censor board, #Joyland has been allowed for release all across Pakistan with minor cuts. Distributors are optimistic for November 18 release as initially planned. Congratulations to the entire team and all those who campaigned.”

He also tweeted that the film was never banned officially.

In its notification of November 11, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said the film does not conform with the country’s “social values and moral standards”.

“Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material which do not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality’ as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979,” the ministry said.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9(2) (a) of the said Ordinance and after conducting a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled ‘Joyland’ as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in the cinemas which fall under the jurisdiction of CBFC with immediate effect,” the order read.

‘Joyland’ follows a patriarchal family, craving for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for a trans woman.

Sadiq wrote and directed the film which features an ensemble cast of Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salman Peerzada, and Sohail Sameer.

‘Joyland’ became the first Pakistani movie to be screened at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival where it won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize and Queer Palm award.

The movie was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Busan International Film Festival.

It also won the Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ young cinema award, given in partnership with critics’ association NETPAC and the Griffith Film School.

(With PTI inputs)