Provincial Sports and Cultural Minister Malik Taimoor Masood rejected a request of the producers of Joyland on Monday, adding the controversial film will not be allowed to release in Punjab.
According to sources, a written application was submitted to the minister, in which the makers briefed that the film was given a green signal by the CBFC to release countrywide and was screened in Sindh and Islamabad on the original release date. However, it was banned in Punjab after the provincial censor board halted the screening on Friday.
Punjab Sports and Cultural Minister, while rejecting the application, said that the theme and subject of the film is controversial and such a subject is unacceptable in our society. The minister also said that the release of this film can initiate unrest in society, hence, he wouldn’t allow the screening.
Besides the minister, local film and censor board chairman, Chaudhry Gul Zaman, also opposed the release of Joyland and added that till his chairmanship this film will not be given NOC to release in Punjab, a source in the information and culture ministry confirmed to The Express Tribune.
An official of the Distribution club told the publication, “We are disappointed after the rejection from the Sports and Cultural minister. We have now stopped the efforts to release Joyland in Punjab. We received opposition from different factions of society including religious groups. So, we are not going to move further with Joyland’s screening in the province. We can’t afford such opposition. We are grateful that the film was at least released in Sindh and the Capital.”
It is important to mention here that a full board meeting to again review the film was held in Lahore and after watching the film Punjab Film and Censor Board did not announce any decision about the film’s future in Punjab cinemas.
While speaking to the publication, a representative of the Sindh Censor Board has shared that the film will be released in the province with the previously decided cuts. The source also added that, while the previously issued censor certificate stands valid on its own, the board will soon issue a final one for the film’s release. Currently, the website for Nueplex cinemas in Karachi also displays Joyland’s poster with its release date.
However, Prime Minister’s Strategic Reforms head Salman Sufi confirmed Wednesday night that Saim Sadiq’s directorial, Joyland, was cleared to be released in Pakistan after a committee deemed it appropriate for screening.
“The film Joyland has been cleared for release by the Censor board review committee formed at the direction of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif,” he tweeted. “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right and should be nourished within ambits of the law.”