The upcoming film Durj by actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi was barred from release in Pakistan. The film was scheduled to be released on 18 October. The censor board banned the film from the screens of the cinema without citing any specific objections to the film.
Shamoon Abbasi announced that the Punjab and Sindh film censor boards approved the film, but the federal censor board rejected it.
“Suddenly, something happened; [the clearances from Punjab and Sindh] got revoked and the ones pending were put on hold. This is what we know for now and definitely, we will have to counter the process.”
Watch the trailer below:
Nevertheless, the film will be released internationally in several countries, including the United States, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar, on October 18th.
Billed as a Pakistani mystery thriller based on a horrific true story of cannibalism, #Durj staring @TheMahiraKhan is to be released in cinemas next month. We speak to lead actor, writer and director @shamoonAbbasi#Distributionclub #zashkofilms #bluntdigital #Shaamfilms pic.twitter.com/6l8E2RQU7J
— BBC Radio Manchester (@BBCRadioManc) September 29, 2019
The clueless Abbasi on the ban said he was unsure about what might have been unacceptable in the movie, based on the true story of a pair of brothers who dug up over 100 graves and cannibalized the bodies. He said the objection would be more appropriate if all four provincial censor boards had unanimously opposed it.
“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.”
“It’s a very sensitive film with no blood or gore, it’s not the type of film to be banned outright as such, so I am not sure what happened,” Abbasi added.
“Members of Central Board of Film Censors viewed the feature film as per prevalent censorship rules and did not consider it appropriate for public exhibition in cinema houses,” Danyal Gilani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors.
Abbasi confirmed that they had not originally planned to release the movie in Pakistan but did so after receiving an overwhelming response after announcing international release dates. In the final appeal against the injunction, he is hopeful to have the decision in his favor.
“I said it will be released [in Pakistan], but honestly, we had a hunch that it could be a problem. But when it came to the censor board and — apart from two minor nude scenes — it was cleared, and we thought everything is fine because the film doesn’t have that sort of blood and gore.”
— Fahim Ahmad Saqib (@FahimAhmadSaqi2) October 4, 2019
Abbasi added that he will try the last chance and reply in the final review as to why it was accepted by two boards and denied by the federal board.