KARACHI: Indian Punjabi film Ambarsariya seems to have gotten no respite from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with its release being blocked in Pakistan.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, CBFC chairman Mobasher Hasan explained the reason behind the ban. “The movie makes strong references to India’s spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), which is why the panel decided against it.”
According to Hasan, the film, which is being distributed by the Distribution Club in Pakistan, was initially viewed by a CBFC panel that had voted against the movie. Following the panel’s decision, the distributors appealed to have the film reviewed again, this time by the full board. “Even the full board did not clear the movie due to which its release in Pakistan has been blocked,” said Hasan.
When asked whether Ambarsariya would have been fit for release in the country if the references to RAW had been edited out, Hasan replied, “That would not be possible since the movie is primarily about RAW and the editing would have affected its story.”
He further clarified that contrary to popular belief, the panel did not ban the movie because it may have contained anti-Pakistan references, or may have shown the country in a negative light. “There is absolutely nothing like that. It is a film set in India and we have stopped its release because it focuses on RAW.”
The distributors still have an option of filing an appeal against CBFC’s decision following which the movie would be reviewed by an appellate panel. However, no such action has been taken by the officials of Distribution Club, who were not available for a comment till the filing of this report.
The CBFC is not the only board to have banned Ambarsariya as the film has endured similar verdicts from the Punjab Board of Film Certification (PBFC) and Sindh Board of Film Certification (SBFC).
Starring Diljit Dosanjh, Naveet Kaur and Monica Gill in lead roles, Ambarsariya follows the story of a man who lives a dual life as a member of RAW and an insurance agent. He is given a mission to save the life of an honest minister of Punjab from a drug mafia plotting to murder him. The film was released in India on March 25.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2016.