Tere Bin may have its share of fans across the border – including Salman Khan and Karan Johar – but it hasn’t won any support with the censor board.
The film has been rejected from screening in the country by the Central Board of Film Censors.
Tere Bin tells the story of a Karachi-based reporter who shoots a video with an Osama bin Laden lookalike to garner fame (and get a visa to the US). It was scheduled to release on July 16.
Ali Zafar is currently in India, where he has been promoting the film heavily. In a statement issued to the press about the censor board’s decision, Zafar said, “People will be viewing the film anyway through pirated DVDs. I just wish that they had gotten a chance to go to the theatre and watch this spectacle under such a positive light that Pakistan requires internationally.”
An official from the censor board told The Express Tribune that the movie had some ‘objectionable’ content and could spark controversies. He said that the matter has been forwarded to the appellate board constituted by the federal ministry of culture.
The appellate board has the authority to allow or ban screening of the film. However, in either case the movie will not be released in Pakistan on July 16. Exhibitor Nadeem Mandviwalla told The Express Tribune, “This is a mindset in our governments that we don’t support legal ways. We want to screen the movie in Pakistan legally but it has been banned and now cable operators and makers of pirated DVDs will let people watch the film illegally,” he said.
Citing the example of Shah Rukh Khan’s film My Name is Khan, Mandviwalla said that the Shiv Sena had warned the Indian government against screening the film but the government took a stand and provided police protection to cinemas. “We have adopted a legal way. The ball lies in the government’s court, whether they support this legal procedure or not,” he said.
Ali Zafar also hopes that the government will overturn the decision. “I hope and request to the government that they approve such a pro-Pakistani film that would slide upon grave issues as terrorism in a light-hearted and jolly film. This film is more of a 95-minute peace tape which by and large reflects the ideology of our nation.”
Zafar says that he will “respect the decision of the censor board and the concerned authorities.” The musician said, “The fate of the film in Pakistan is up to God’s will and His decisions are never wrong. But I do feel unfortunate that a film in a lighter tone – about a Pakistani and Pakistan – and which looks at sensitive issues that we as Muslims and Pakistanis face, is going to be released all over the world and not Pakistan. There is nothing in the film which could be hurtful to anyone’s ideology if seen with an open mind. Perhaps the lines said to Bush about his oil invading policies were a subject of concern for them, but when the whole world has made a remark on it including Hillary Clinton then why can’t we? We should not be afraid of voicing our thoughts and what concerns us directly. This film is the first of its kind and will be seen legally worldwide and illegally in Pakistan on the same date. Isn’t that funny?”
The title of the film was changed to Tere Bin from Tere Bin Laden for Pakistan by Ali Zafar, who was distributing the film in the country. Zafar told The Express Tribune last week, “The sensibilities in Pakistan are somewhat different from the international market and our main intention was to ensure that people do not conceive it was a spoof of Osama bin Laden or the Taliban because it is not; it is a very pro-Pakistan comedy about a Pakistani journalist wanting to go to the US.” With additional reporting by the News Desk
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2010.