Slackistan banned in Pakistan

The indie film will not play in Pakistani cinemas due to Censor Board citing objectionable content.


Saba Imtiaz January 25, 2011

The highly-awaited indie film Slackistan, which deals with the lives of 20-somethings in Islamabad, has not been cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors in Pakistan, effectively banning the original film from being shown in Pakistan until cuts are made.

However, even if the cuts the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) have asked for are made, the film will receive an adults-only ‘18+’ rating.

According to a press release issued by Slackistan director Hammad Khan, “The CBFC have demanded that the filmmaker remove all dialogue references in the film to the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, as well as any mention of Islamic beards and related religious attire.”

In addition to references to the Taliban and bin Laden, the censors have reportedly objected to “the term ‘lesbian’ in one of the scenes, as well as all instances of bad language in English and Urdu uttered by characters in the film” and showing alcohol being consumed.

According to the Motion Pictures Ordinance 1979, “A film shall not be certified for public exhibition; if, in the opinion of the Board, the film or any part thereof is prejudicial to the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality or amounts to the commission of, or incitement to, an offence.”

The ordinance also states: “No person shall make or arrange a public or private exhibition of a film by means of cinematograph unless the film has been duly certified for public exhibition by the Board.”

Khan is quoted as saying in the press release:

“The censor board’s verdict is oppressive, arbitrary and steeped in denial about life outside their government offices. Maybe the establishment’s view is that young Pakistanis saying words like ‘Taliban’ and ‘Lesbian’ represent a more potent threat than the bullets and bombs that are, day by day, finding increasing legitimacy in the country. Apart from being an undemocratic restriction on the filmmaker’s right of expression, the verdict shows the disdain with which the authorities regard local film culture and liberal ideas, in the face of growing extremism and intolerance.”

Slackistan has been shown at several film festivals abroad.

Last year, the Central Board of Film Censors also refused to clear Tere Bin Laden, musician and actor Ali Zafar’s debut Indian film. At the time, 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 Tere Bin Laden in Pakistan legally but it has been banned and now cable operators and makers of pirated DVDs will let people watch the film illegally.” The film’s title was also changed to Tere Bin for its Pakistan release.

Complete text of the press release below:

‘SLACKISTAN’ IS BANNED FROM CINEMA RELEASE IN PAKISTAN AFTER CENSOR’S OBJECTIONS





Hammad Khan’s independent film about westernised twenty-somethings in the Pakistani capital city of Islamabad, ‘Slackistan’, has generated a string of objections from Pakistani authorities, preventing its release in cinemas across the country.

The Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) have demanded that the filmmaker remove all dialogue references in the film to the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden, as well as any mention of Islamic beards and related religious attire.

The film contains several scenes, images and dialogues which make reference to the Taliban and the surrounding religious extremism and insecurity around the lives of the young people in the city.

The censors have also objected to the term ‘lesbian’ in one of the scenes, as well as all instances of bad language in English and Urdu uttered by characters in the film.

Further objections relate to the film’s characters clutching and sharing alcoholic drinks in the film. All suggestion of alcohol being enjoyed has been prohibited from the film.

The CBFC have also stated that, even if all cuts are made as demanded, the film would still receive a restrictive adults-only ‘18+’ rating.

The filmmaker Khan states, “The censor board’s verdict is oppressive, arbitrary and steeped in denial about life outside their government offices. Maybe the establishment’s view is that young Pakistanis saying words like ‘Taliban’ and ‘Lesbian’ represent a more potent threat than the bullets and bombs that are, day by day, finding increasing legitimacy in the country.”

“Apart from being an undemocratic restriction on the filmmaker’s right of expression, the verdict shows the disdain with which the authorities regard local film culture and liberal ideas, in the face of growing extremism and intolerance.”

‘Slackistan’ has had successful screenings at festivals in London, Abu Dhabi, New York, San Francisco and Goa. Mara Pictures released the film in the UK and were also handling its Pakistan release.

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COMMENTS (58)

Jeddy | 10 years ago | Reply As if banning any movie has stopped people from seeing them. Indian movies are still popular but they could not be screened for a long time because of General Ayub. That stupid general destroyed our film industry because they could not be shown in India.
Sam | 10 years ago | Reply I doesn't know about the movie, however, here different views and observations.............. the thing i understood is in the movie only one face of the Pakistan have been represented which is not captured even 10% of the whole population and their norms and it is dilemma to potrey Pakistan in such manner.............. other than that now people think if they release movie in the name of Islam and muslims, they can cash it very well as i remebered 3 years ago one movie "Khuda key liey" also released representing people using Islam as a tool for their own purpose (only captured 10% to 15% of uneducated people living in Pakistan), The point is why don't we make movies which will increase love for Pakistan and lessen the hatred, over and above its fashion now to pin point Molana's and people having beard i know here the ppl commenting like that even don't know the meaning of Molana........ and why only objections raise for muslims that they have beared why not sikhs and jews............ the think is we are confused people and we don't have any knowledge famous quote "I know that i don't know but you don't know that you don't know" MAY GOD BLESS US AND LONGLIVE PAKISTAN
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