Ban gives Slackistan a boost

Tickets sell out on opening night as the film screens in Lahore.


Sher Khan July 12, 2011

LAHORE:


People in Lahore poured in for the private screening of Slackistan on July 9 and 10, after much hype was generated by the ban imposed on the film earlier. With a few expletives and a below average storyline, spectators were left wondering what the point of banning a film like Slackistan was.


Inside Ali Auditorium, a full capacity of around 700 people showed up for the screenings on both days. On the first day all the tickets were sold out, with some people even paying to sit on the stairs.

“We wanted to screen it because people were dying to see the film and they could not see it in the cinemas,” said Mehreen Rana, the CEO of Origami entertainment. Rana is among a few people who have been given the distribution rights to the film. “Most people were curious about the film, why it was banned and that had generated a lot of interest.”

However, one could see people walking out disappointed in the middle of the show. According to some of the organisers, it was the younger crowd that found the movie boring and slow.

Sarah Waqar, Origami’s media advisor, explained that people tend to become curious whenever they are restricted. “People knew the movie was not Oscar material, but it being banned really pulled them in,” Waqar said. “That’s why there was such a successful turnout and demand.”

Many spectators could not see why the film had been banned in the first place. Ali Tauqeer, an IT professional, said that such low-budget films are rarely shown in Pakistan and the language which has been used in the film was something used on a daily basis.

“Banning the film did nothing really, because most of these things are displayed widely anyways,” said Tauqeer.

“It’s funny this was banned the same week that Black Swan was released in Pakistan and that film had a lesbian love scene.”

Many people feel that censorship should be a personal decision, rather than one that is controlled by the government. The argument is that many of the obscene habits according to the censor board are being done openly.

“It has to start from home,” explains Asifa Chaudhary who is a faculty member at the London School of Business and Finance. “Just avoiding things doesn’t mean it will curb or stop a certain sort of behaviour.”

She said that the bans had not been used for their original reason and in most cases they had been imposed because of political agendas.

Karachi to get a screening next?

Slackistan producer Adnan Malik said that the ongoing screenings were organised on a private level. He said that the permission was granted by the government after various organisations had reached out to screen the film. After its screenings in Lahore and Islamabad, the film is expected to reach Karachi, where a couple of organisations initially showed interest but never followed up.

Malik said that the film had a great following since its release two years ago. The sustained attention had created lopsided expectations as it had also been screened at various film festivals. “Our goal always was to jump-start dialogue among people,” said Malik. “The fact is that it’s more of a catalyst or a pioneer film, which will help spurn other independent films in Pakistan.”





Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.

COMMENTS (2)

Mahmood | 10 years ago | Reply

The article reads: "Slackistan producer Adnan Malik said that the ongoing screenings were organised on a private level. He said that the permission was granted by the government" - well then, who was paid off to do the screenings? The way I read it - the producer + attendees of these 'private screenings' are complicit in fueling corruption in the government.

Giri | 10 years ago | Reply

Great idea. First ban every future movie and then release. Within no time, Lollywood will beat [H/B]ollywood hands down and L'wood will reign supreme. Even SBs also come to watch. If they are really really bored with the file, they will just...blowup.

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