It is rightfully said that ‘If creating controversies was an art, we [Pakistanis] would be Picasso of it’. This statement fits best to the practice of film banning in Pakistan. The circus of banning and censoring movies made on the issues that our society is faced with, has been going for quite a while now. This abomination is actually a façade to hide the shame coming out of the social issues.
Owing to our apathy, criminals and the perpetrators of [even] the heinous crimes go scot-free. May be this apathetic behavior is partly attributed to the myriads of issues we have seen in last one decade that it doesn’t affect us anymore what may come. On every issue the only thing that changes in our society is ‘hashtag on the social Media’ for a day or two. This goes on until this issue is drowned by some latest one.
People here take pride in hiding their wounds and issues in the fear of being mocked. Proverbs like ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ are written for such people. Movies made on social issues in past have fared well and gave impetuses to the voices raised on the prevalent social issues. Gagging such movies in this age of information is like deliberately giving cover to the elements responsible for the social vices.
The umpteenth victim of film censoring is the much anticipated film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ by the acclaimed director Sarmad Khoosat. The film is based on the issue of child molestation, and has accurately depicted the situation a child faces in our society. Punjab Government has put an indefinite ban on the film just before its release. It’s not fathomable why the people sitting in government would make themselves a laughing stock by banning a film which is set to aware the general public about a hot issue.
Instead of encouraging the maker of the film on taking it upon himself to confront the issue through the best weapon at his disposal, the government has stooped low to ban it. Also, such filmmakers are the only hope for the incumbent revival of the Pakistan’s film industry. Irony is, the province which has faced over 100 cases of child molestation in the preceding year has refused to allow the film on child molestation in its cities.
In another news, some people have moved the Lahore high court to stop screening of the dénouement of the popular drama serial ‘Meray paas tum ho’. The pretext given by the petitioner before court was that ‘a character [woman] is shown inferior in the drama’. This logic is absurd in essence. Because in every other film or drama some character is demonized and shown as villainous regardless of its gender.
One wonders if the drama was not being planned for big screens and hit the televisions like all its previous episodes, would there be no humiliation of the said character? Where was the objection before the finale of drama was announced? The complaint was only registered after thousands of tickets were sold by cinemas to show the last mega episode of the drama on the big screens. In times when the cinemas in Pakistan are already having their hard time due to less number of films, film banning would worsen their predicament.
We as a society have grown callous towards the sensitive issues we face every day. Owing to our apathy, criminal and the perpetrators of [even] the heinous crimes go scot-free. May be this apathetic behavior is partly attributed to the myriads of issues we have seen in the last one decade that it doesn’t affect us anymore what may come. On every issue the only thing that changes in our society is ‘hashtag on the social Media’ for a day or two. This goes on until this issue is drowned by some latest one.
Instead of penalizing the criminals behind such cases, our governments are protecting and covering them through such bans. In the developed countries films based on such hot societal issues are given tax concessions, so that more awareness can be disseminated. But our governments ban such films outright, let alone provide them tax concessions. It is high time that this practice of creating controversies and banning films took its last breath. The real change will come when instead of just changing a hashtag, our attitude towards an issue will change.