PAKISTAN BANKS OSCAR CONTENDER “JOYLAND” FOR IT’S “REPUGNANT MATERIAL”

Set in Lahore, Pakistan, “Joyland” revolves around Haider, the youngest son of the middle-class, patriarchal Rana family. As the Ranas yearn for the birth of a baby boy, Haider secretly joins an erotic dance theater and finds himself falling for a fiercely ambitious trans starlet. Their love story illuminates the secrets and desires of the entire Rana family.

aim Sadiq, the director of “Joyland,” and the team behind the film, are raising their voices against the ban imposed by the Pakistan government. Terming the ban a “grave injustice,” Sadiq, in an Instagram post, says that the ban is “absolutely unconstitutional and illegal” and has urged the country’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to review the decision.

“Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material which do not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality’ as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979,” the order states. “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9(2) (a) of the said Ordinance and after conducting a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled ‘Joyland’ as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in the cinemas which fall under the jurisdiction of CBFC with immediate effect.”

“Joyland” was due to release in Pakistan on Nov. 18. An official statement is expected imminently.

Set in Lahore, Pakistan, “Joyland” revolves around Haider, the youngest son of the middle-class, patriarchal Rana family. As the Ranas yearn for the birth of a baby boy, Haider secretly joins an erotic dance theater and finds himself falling for a fiercely ambitious trans starlet. Their love story illuminates the secrets and desires of the entire Rana family.

The film debuted at the Un Certain Regard strand at Cannes earlier this year, where it won the jury prize. Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has joined the project as an executive producer. It is Pakistan’s entry in the Oscars’ international feature category.

On Friday, it won the Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ young cinema award, given in partnership with critics’ association NETPAC and the Griffith Film School.

After hearing of the ban, APSA said in a written statement: “ ‘Joyland’ represents a significant new cinematic talent in Saim Sadiq from Pakistan, who has crafted a moving and entertaining drama about family in his debut feature film. The Young Cinema Award Jury commends Saim Sadiq for his brave and joyous celebration of community diversity and the universality of love.”

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