In what could be seen as another setback in the renewed release of Indian films in Pakistan post the lifting of the ban, Subhash Kapoor’s judicial satire-drama Jolly LLB 2 has been banned by the Examining Committee of the Pakistan Censor Board, reportedly because the film addresses the sensitive Kashmir issue.
Says a source, “In the movie, Akshay Kumar plays a lawyer who treats his profession casually until he comes across the case of an innocent man who is killed and declared a Kashmiri militant, while the real Kashmiri militant goes into hiding in Uttar Pradesh. Bringing up the issue has not gone down well with the Pakistani censor board. They’ve banned the film, as they intend to ban all Indian films that bring up the Kashmir issue.”
Last week, Rahul Dholakia’s Raees was also banned by the Pakistan censor board, apparently, for being “anti-Muslim.” However, there’s still hope that the movie will release in Pakistan. The Pakistani distributors of the film have decided to appeal to the ‘Full Board’ which is the equivalent of the Indian censor board’s Revising Committee.
Leading overseas distributor Hirachand Dand, who had acquired the Pakistan rights of Raees, finds the ban on the film, “unprecedented and totally disappointing.” Dand, who is also the President of the Indian Film Exporters Association, admits that he bought the film as Pakistan is a huge market for Shah Rukh Khan-starrers.
Unfortunately for Dand, the film was unanimously rejected. “I was surprised when it was decided to have a ‘Full Board’ screening for the film. The Censor Board is in three places — Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi — and one of the three Boards generally review a film for clearance, but in some cases, when the content is perceived as controversial, they involve members of all the three boards. In the case of Raees, members of all the three Boards, sat on the screening, after which they called for a ban on the film. It was a big setback,” he said.
“The Full Board felt that it was unprecedented that the hero was shown as a violent Muslim character, going on a killing spree. In a majority of the films, it was always the villain, who was seen doing it, Moreover, this time it was no less a star than Shah Rukh Khan, who was the protagonist,” Dand revealed.
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