‘Raees’ Ban Draws Mixed Reactions In Pakistan

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Islamabad: Pakistani cinema fans, critics and the industry’s other stakeholders have given a mixed reaction to the ban on the screening of the Shahrukh Khan-Mahira Khan starrer, ‘Raees’ in the country, after the government this month gave the go ahead to screening of Indian films.

Some cinema fans and critics lashed out at the ban imposed by the Central Film Censor Board but others supported the ban which comes at a time when Pakistani cinegoers were treated to the release of latest Indian films, ‘Kaabil’ and ‘Ae Dil Yeh Mushkil’ after the government nod. Noted film critic, Omair Alavi said the ban had come as a disappointment to Shahrukh Khan and Mahira Khan fans and also to cinema owners.

“It is disappointing and many cinema owners were looking forward to recoup their losses they incurred since the ban on Indian films last September,” he said.

Fans were also active on social media and slammed the ban decision specially diehard fans of Shahrukh Khan and Mahira Khan. The Chairman of the Central Film Censor Board, Mobashar Hassan when contacted said the decision to ban “Raees” was taken after proper discussions.

“The consensus was that the film has an anti-Islam and anti-Muslim theme and portrays Muslims negatively. Plus it’s portrayal of a particular sect could also lead to reactions,” he said. Hassan said the ban on “Raees” didn’t mean it would affect the release of other Indian films.

“We decide to give certification on basis of the content and theme of the film,” he added.

A report in the “Dawn” newspaper claimed that the provincial censor boards in Punjab and Sindh were at odds with the country’s central censor board over the ban on “Raees.”

It quoted a source who said the Punjab and Sindh censor boards had passed the film without any cuts but said that they would issue a certificate after consulting the Central Board of Film Censors in Islamabad. After a full-board meeting which is usually reserved for appeals, however, the central board decided not to issue ‘Raees’ a certificate on Monday for “inappropriate content”.

The General Manager marketing of the Cinepax chain of cinemas said he had no problems with the decision of the Central Censor board.

“They have explained to us what prompted them to ban ‘Raees’ and we see their point because they have to take into consideration many things while clearing a film. They must have thought the issue through,” Mohsin Yaseen said.

He said they were looking forward to make good with other releases like Pakistani film, ‘Balu Mahi’ Akhshay Kumar’s ‘Jolly LLB 2’ and Hollywood thriller, ‘John Wick’ this month.