The release of much-anticipated Bollywood film “Raees” starring Shah Rukh Khan and Pakistani actress Mahira Khan, was on Monday banned in Pakistan due to its “objectionable” content.
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) said the Rahul Dholakia directorial, which marks Mahira Khan’s Bollywood debut, will not release in the country. The film was scheduled to hit Pakistani cinemas on Sunday.
Sources in the know said the reason behind the ban was that “the content undermines Islam, and a specific religious sect, (It also) portrays Muslims as criminals, wanted persons and terrorists”.
Most members objected to the film’s release, an official of the Punjab censor board said, adding that they will follow the decision of the central censor board.
The self-imposed ban on Bollywood films ended on February 1 as Karachi’s Atrium Cinemas screened Hrithik Roshan starrer “Kaabil”. The information ministry and CBFC also cleared Karan Johar’s “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” for screening in the country.
Last week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the thumbs up to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to lift the “ban” by issuing No Objection Certificate to Indian films, subject to clearance by the Censor Board.
According to an official handout issued by the Information Ministry, the government was “pleased to continue the existing open policy to display all international movies (including Indian films) in Pakistani cinemas”.
The statement, however, pointed out that the cinema houses would be allowed to screen movies only after approval from relevant censor boards.
Following the tensions over an attack on an Indian army base in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, and surgical strikes across the Line of Control in September last year, Pakistani cinema owners had decided not to screen Indian movies until the atmosphere became better. They took the decision after the Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association banned all Pakistani artists from working in film projects in India.