The Punjab Film Censor Board allowed airing of the sequel to 2014 Comedy ‘Na Maloom Afraad’ after a ban was imposed on its screening in Punjab.
Last week, the board stopped cinema houses from airing the movie. According to the representatives, it contained ‘objectionable scenes’ that could not be allowed viewership to the general public.
The action came as a bit of a shock. Director Nabeel Qureshi argued that the notification from the Ministry of Education was ‘vague’ and failed to specify the reason to the ban. He was adamant to calling the action ridicule and an act that would sabotage the national industry.
The movie had already been doing good in cinema houses for over a month. All censor boards including the one in Punjab had given a passed certificate to ‘Na Maloom Afraad 2’ prior to release.
Authorities (not) Working with the Industry
The last couple of months has seen Pakistan and the film industry go through a turning point towards good times. It is undergoing a transition phase where new people are replacing and changing the face of the previous heroes. But with actions like those of the Punjab Censor Board, authorities make it seem like there will always be a stone left unturned for aspiring directors and cast alike.
The same critics, in and outside the country, who call for strict regulations on the Pakistani cinema will have no problems whatsoever in viewing the same content in a foreign movie. People calling to ban certain Lollywood movies are rigid in dragging a flourishing industry to its knees once more. It is a clear act of revoking an artist’s freedom of expression and more importantly the process of creativity.
For developing nations such as ours, it is critical for officials to show leniency to some extent. Such that it would, in essence, promote a good image of the nation. The purpose here is not to promote vulgarity on screen, but to heal previous wounds of an authoritarian regime. There were days when a Pakistani movie surpassed Bollywood standards but ever since a haunting era passed us, we have been unable to promote art; simply as a form of expression.