Pakistan reverses ban on official Oscar entry Joyland, film may release on Friday as scheduled

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Authorities in Pakistan have lifted the ban on filmmaker Saim Sadiq’s critically-acclaimed film Joyland. Their decision comes days after the ban was put in place by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting which said it contains ‘highly objectionable material’. Joyland is Pakistan’s official entry for the upcoming 2023 Academy Awards and has received critical acclamation at film festivals around the world. Also read: Pakistan bans its official Oscar entry Joyland over ‘highly objectionable material’

On Wednesday, journalist Rafay Mahmood, who writes for Express Tribune, tweeted, “After the full board review by the censor board, #Joyland has been allowed for release all across Pakistan with minor cuts. Distributors are optimistic for November 18 release as initially planned. Congratulations to the entire team and all those who campaigned.” He also mentioned that the film was never banned officially, however, now film distributers await for a NOC certificate to take things further.

“#Joyland has been cleared for release across Pakistan. The persistence of so many activists and artists has paid off,” added journalist Ailia Zehra of Naya Daur.

Earlier in August, Joyland received the screening certificate from the government. It was met with protests and concerns causing the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ban the film on the grounds that it ‘does not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of decency and morality’.

Joyland marks Saim Sadiq’s directorial debut. It was slated to release in theatres across Pakistan on November 18. The film revolves around a patriarchal family, who wants a baby boy to take their family line forward. Things take an interesting turn when the family’s youngest son, the protagonist, secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and falls for a trans woman. Joyland stars Sania Saeed, Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Rasti Farooq, Salmaan Peerzada and Sohail Sameer.





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