The federal government has issued directives to postpone the release of upcoming film, Zindagi Tamasha, that was scheduled to hit theaters on 24th January.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, special advisor to Prime Minister for information and broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan tweeted that the producers of the film have been directed to postpone the film, adding that the Central Board of Film Censors has decided to immediately approach the Council of Islamic Ideology to critically review the film.
مرکزی فلم سنسر بورڈ نے فلم “زندگی تماشہ” کا تنقیدی جائزہ لینے کے لئے فوری طور پر اسلامی نظریاتی کونسل سے رجوع کرنے کا فیصلہ کیا ہے۔ پروڈیوسر کو فلم کی ریلیز مؤخر کرنے کی ہدایت بھی جاری کر دی گئی۔
— Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) January 21, 2020
Earlier on Tuesday, the Government of Punjab through its Information and Culture Department barred filmmaker Sarmad Khoosat from releasing Zindagi Tamasha “in wake of persistent complaints received from different quarters”. Following this, the Sindh Government also placed a ban on the film as it may create unrest within the religious segment of the society and disrupt peace.
According to a notification issued by the provincial government, the film will be re-examined and the filmmaker has been directed to arrange a show in this regard “in any cinema house” on February 3 at 3 pm, so it may be reviewed. The film’s team has also been told to ensure the presence of a representative “for personal hearing, if required by the committee”.
Meanwhile, the director has also been instructed not to release the film “till final decision of the committee”.
It is pertinent to mention here that the censor boards of Punjab and Sindh had earlier cleared the film. According to media reports, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) will once again hold a board members meeting to review the film in which a representative of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and a representative of the ministry will also participate.
Following the temporary ban on the film, the protests against the film have been cancelled that were scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Petition filed by Irfan Khoosat
A few hours before the Punjab government’s notification, a Lahore Civil Court heard the petition filed by Sarmad’s father Irfan Ali Khoosat against the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) for “trying to interfere into the smooth running, public screening/releasing” of Zindagi Tamasha. Judge Ziaur Rehman heard the petition and issued notices to all respondents to appear before the court on Wednesday to present their arguments.
According to reports, Irfan who serves as the director of Khoosat Films Private Limited, appealed to the court to “[restrain] the defendant permanently from interfering into the peaceful releasing/public screening of above-named film on big screen/cinema in all over Pakistan illegally, unlawfully”.
Last week, the filmmaker had appealed to the prime minister and other authorities to facilitate his film’s release explaining that he was receiving threats. In his letter, Sarmad clarified: “As a law-abiding citizen and with full conviction that there is nothing offensive or malicious in the film, in response I submitted the film for another review to the censor board. It was cleared once again with a few cuts to appease the complainants.”
Written by Nirmal Bano and directed by Sarmad Khoosat, Zindagi Tamasha stars Arif Hassan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleman and Ali Kureshi in the lead. The film is centred around a naat khwan Rahat Khawaja (played by Arif Hassan) and his family who are outcast from the society when a secret of Khawaja was leaked.
Keep watching this space for more updates.