Censorship has always been a problem for Pakistan’s film industry and several appealing projects have never made it to the big screen as the censor board refused to approve them due to some reason. In this article, we have made a ‘List of Pakistani Films Banned in Pakistan’ throughout the country’s history.
List of Pakistani Films Banned in Pakistan
There have been several Pakistani Films that have been banned in Pakistan since 1959 and never made it to the big screen and some over very ridiculous reasons.
1. Jago Hua Savera (1959)
Film written by famous Urdu poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and directed by A.J. Kardar was based on the struggles of a poor fishing village in former East Pakistan (Bangladesh). However, the film never made it to the big screen as it was banned by the Government of Pakistan under Ayub Khan’s regime over its “subversive socialist content.”
2. Kartar Singh (1959)
This was a Punjabi film based on the riots between Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs during the time of partition of the subcontinent in 1947. Written by Saifuddin Saif, the film was based on real-life incidents and banned by the Government due to its sympathetic treatment of the hero who was playing a Sikh. However, the censor board later cleared the film for a theatrical release and it became a major hit in the country.
3. Jibon Theke Neya (1970)
Jibon Theke Neya is a 1970 Bengali-language movie directed by Zahir Rehman and based on the Bengali Language Movement under the rule of Pakistan, where a dominating woman in one family symbolizes the political dictatorship of Ayub Khan in East Pakistan.
There was a a lot of criticism and people of former East Pakistan staged protests over the ban of the film, which led to the Government eventually clearing it for release in the country.
4. Insan aur Gadha (1973)
Insan aur Gadha was written, produced, and directed by Syed Kamal, Insan aur Gadha is a 1973 film based on the human conditions in Pakistan. However, the film was taken down shortly after the release during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s regime over a scene that mocked Bhutto’s signature style of delivering speeches.
However, the Government later overturned its decision and allowed the movie to return to the big screen.
5. Begam Jan (1977)
Story about a woman from the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who goes door to door selling items and gives birth to a child out of wedlock, Begam Jan, was only allowed to screen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and never screened in other cities.
6. Aurat Raj (1979)
This was one of the first feminist movies in Pakistan and directed by comedian, Rangeela. It was allowed to release initially but later banned in the country.
7. Maulajut (1979)
It was a Punjabi musical film directed by Younis Malik and banned shortly after its release by the Government due to its violent content. However, the producer was able to acquire a stay order from the court and the movie was eventually allowed to run again in the country.
8. The Blood of Hussain (1980)
The Blood Of Hussain is a 1980 fantasy drama by Jamil Dehlavi based on the life and death of the youngest son of a Pakistani family. However, it was banned by General Zia’s dictatorship for depicting the regime as repressive. It never made it the big screen and is among the List of Pakistani Films Banned in Pakistan.
9. Mela (1981)
The movie was directed by Hassan Askari and produced by Anwar Kamal Pasha and was based on the Zia dictatorship, which led towards it ban in Pakistan.
10. Zar Gul (1997)
Zar Gul makes it the ‘List of Pakistani Films Banned in Pakistan’ for being about a rebel and revolutionary fighting the oppressive state and never made it to the big screen across the country.
11. Khamosh Pani (2003)
The film was directed by Sabiha Sumar and was based on around a family in southern Punjab affected by the increasing religious radicalization under the regime of Zia-ul-Haq. However, the reason for the ban wasn’t the Zia dictatorship but because it had Indian actors.
12. Slackistan (2010)
This was an independent film directed by Hammad Khan based on a young man who is juggling between personal and professional lives while living in Pakistan during political turmoil. The film was banned by the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) over use of swear words in English and Urdu as well as “Taliban” and “Lesbian.”
13. Besieged in Quetta (2016)
Documentary film by Asef Ali Muhammed about the plight of Quetta’s Hazara community. It was banned for portraying ‘the negative side of the country’.
14. Among the Believers (2016)
The documentary was directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammad Ali Naqvi and it was banned by CBFC for containing “dialogues which project the negative image of Pakistan in the context of ongoing fighting against extremism and terrorism.”
15. Maalik (2016)
This was a political-thriller directed by Ashir Azeem that was banned a week after its release by the Sindh Board of Film Censors. However, the ban was lifted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) and the film was released in some cinemas across the country.
16. Verna (2017)
The film was around a rape victim and her struggles and banned by the CBFC, which stated, “The general plot of the movie revolves around rape, which we consider to be unacceptable.” However, the film was allowed to release without any censorship in the country after protests over the decision.
17. Javed Iqbal: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer (2019)
The movie was based on the real-life events of famous serial killer, Javed Iqbal, who murdered and sexually assaulted dozens of children and it was banned by the CBFC despite initial approval.
18. Zindagi Tamasha (2019)
Directed by Sarmad Khoosat, the movie shows an intimate portrait of a family who lives in Lahore. It was banned by the CBFC over religious uproar and protests by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who accused the director of blasphemy.
19. Durj (2019)
Mystery thriller, written and directed by Shamoon Abbasi, and based around cannibalism, the Pakistani film was banned in Pakistan for being inappropriate for public viewing but later approved for a local release.
20. I’ll Meet You There (2020)
The film was based on a American-Pakistani family living in Chicago and banned by the CBFC in Pakistan as it did not “reflect true Pakistani culture” and “portrays a negative image of Muslims.”
21. Joyland (2022)
Joyland is the latest addition to the List of Pakistani Films Banned in Pakistan after complaints received regarding the film showcasing objectionable content that includes indecency and immorality. Joyland, a Saim Sadiq directorial debut centers on the extended patriarchal Rana family, as they crave for the birth of a baby boy to continue the family line, while their youngest son secretly joins an erotic dance theater and falls for a trans woman.
Read more: Joyland Ban Leaves Everyone Divided on Twitter.
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