Pakistani authorities have decided firmly that Joyland helmed by first-time director Saim Sadiq is banned months after it had passed the screening process. Joyland is expected to etch the official entry to the prestigious 2023 Academy Awards during the world film festivals.
Joyland gained the screening certificate officially on August 17. Nonetheless, eyebrows were raised seeking the objectionable content. Due to constant protests and backlash, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ended up banning the film across the country.
A statement on November 11 by the ministry read, “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 film marks Saim Sadiq’s debut as a director. The film is slated to hit the domestic theaters on November 18. It features the well-acclaimed cast of Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada and Sohail Sameer.
Religious inclinations have discouraged free passage for the film calling it ‘against Islam’. Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Pakistani senator of Jamaat-e-Islami tweeted, “Pakistan is an Islamic country and no law, ideology or activity can be allowed against.”
On the other hand, many actors and audience have voice out against the ban too. Actor Sarwat Gilani lashed out at the authorities and wrote a long Twitter thread, “Shameful that a Pakistani film made by 200 Pakistanis over 6 years that got standing ovations from Toronto to Cairo to Cannes is being hindered in its own country. Don’t take away this moment of pride and joy from our people! No one’s forcing anyone to watch it! So don’t force anyone to not watch it either! Pakistani viewers are smart enough to know what they want to watch or not. Let Pakistanis decide! Don’t insult their intelligence and our hard work!”