Social Media was in a frenzy as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting withdrew the exhibition permit for the award-winning film Joyland. The film was banned on the grounds that it goes against the moral fabric of society and is abhorrent to decent and morality. Therefore the objection was made under section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance 1979.
Looking at the public outcry, prime minister Shehbaz Sharif formed an 8-member committee to review the complaints made against Joyland. After a review, the head of Prime Minister’s strategic reforms Salman Sufi announced that the ban was reversed and the film is all set to be screened on 18th November with some minor cuts.
“The film #Joyland has been cleared for release by the Censor board review committee formed at the direction of PM
@CMShehbaz Freedom of speech is fundamental right & should be nourished within ambits of the law.”
Twitter Celebrates The Reversal
“FINALLY! #Joyland is being released in Pakistan after some “minor cuts”. Here’s one step towards a better and more tolerant future (hopefully).”
“JOYLAND BAN REVERSED LETS GOOOO this is actually so huge u guys don’t get it im so proud”
“WE DID IT. WE WON. JOYLAND IS RELEASING. CONGRATULATIONS MY #RELEASEJOYLAND BABIESSSS”
“Joyland’s release is a big victory for Pakistan against bigotry, transphobia, and religious extremism!! May this streak continue”
“Well done for doing the right thing. Glad our state stood up to a small minority of bigots which continue to hold this nation hostage. #ReleaseJoyland“
“Can’t believe public backlash to some extent became the reason for Joyland’s release. What a win!”
“Glad to hear that #Joyland is cleared for release & I hope this sets a precedent where frivolous claims to ban art are ignored & people are allowed to make their own decisions about what films they want to watch. It’s the least this country can do to uphold free expression!”
“So very proud of all those who campaigned for the release of #Joyland and now it’s time to appreciate the talent and hard-work of all those who were involved in this project! A step in the right direction for Pakistan?”NOW GO TO THE CINEMAS!! Support them.”
Joyland marks Saim Sadiq’s directorial debut. It was slated to release in theatres across Pakistan on November 18. The film revolves around a patriarchal family, who wants a baby boy to take their family line forward. Things take an interesting turn when the family’s youngest son, the protagonist, secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for a trans woman. Joyland stars Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada and Sohail Sameer.
Will you be watching?