Actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming film Durj will not release in theatres across Pakistan as the federal censor declined giving its approval. They says the film’s topic is not suitable for the general audience.
Sindh Film Censor Board Member Umar Khitab Khan told SAMAA Digital the film was initially cleared by the censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but then it was rejected by the federal censor board.
“The film was initially cleared from Punjab and Sindh, however, we had to withdraw the approvals and put the film on hold after the Federal Censor Board did not grant approval,” said Khan. He said that the Federal Censor Board believes that the film topic of cannibalism is too harsh for the audience.
Shamoon Abbasi is also perplexed over the sudden withdrawal of approvals. “The approvals are still with the distribution company but the film has been asked to put on hold,” said Abbasi while talking to SAMAA Digital. He added that his film was immediately banned from release in Pakistan without giving any tangible reason.
Khan said he had reviewed the film himself and found it suitable to watch. “I couldn’t find anything wrong in the film; there was no blood or any gruesome detailing,” said Khan. He said that all censor boards have to follow the federal board’s decisions.
We should encourage people who experiment, rather than the ones making the same wedding stories, he said.
Durj is based on three real life incidents. It narrates the story of two brothers who dug over 100 graves and ate corpses.
Abbasi has reportedly asked the Federal Censor Board to review its decision and suggested the board cuts the scenes which it believes are not suitable for the audience.
He and his team had not planned on releasing Durj in Pakistan at all, but decided to go ahead with it after receiving an overwhelming response when international release dates were announced, he said. “I have received tremendous response from all across the world on the trailer,” said Abbasi. “The people in Pakistan are also eagerly waiting for the film to be released.”
Durj has already premiered at the 72nd edition of Cannes Film Festival. It features Myra Khan, Majid Khan and Nouman Javaid in prominent roles. Durj is slated for release on October 11 in multiple countries, including the US, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. It was also scheduled to be released in Pakistan on October 18.