Say he has the legal documentation to release the film
Sarmad Khoosat has decided to release his film Zindagi Tamasha across Pakistan despite attempts to stop the film from releasing after being cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors.
A Sindh Film Censor Board member told SAMAA Digital that Zindagi Tamasha has been cleared by all three censor boards; Punjab, Sindh and federal.
“The film has been reviewed twice by the full censor board and it was cleared by the full board after minor cuts,” said the Sindh Film Censor Board member. The censor board official said they feel the film is not controversial.
However, he said the certificate for distributors has not been issued yet. They hope to issue it soon.
On Thursday, Khoosat wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan to draw his attention towards the obstacles that being created for his film.
Taking to Twitter, he shared the open letter, which said there have been attempts to stop the film from releasing despite it being cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors.
میں بھی پاکستان ہوں— Sarmad Khoosat (@KhoosatSarmad) January 16, 2020
An open letter to:@ImranKhanPTI@ArifAlvi #Chiefjusticeofpakistan #Chiefofthearmystaffpakiatan#ministerofinformationpakistan@DanyalGilani #censorboardofpakistan #ZindagiTamasha #pakistanicinema pic.twitter.com/D10lS1V1gw
“I would like to mention to everyone that I have all the legal documentation to get my film released across Pakistan,” Khoosat told SAMAA Digital. “Zindagi Tamasha is a reflection of its setting. The film was never made with any intention to attack, to point fingers at or humiliate any individual or institution.”
He remarked that no matter what the circumstances are, the film will be released on January 24.
He mentioned in his letter that upon completion, the film was cleared by all three censor boards of Pakistan and had its world premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival.
“24th of January was set as the release date. However, a ‘complaint’ was registered against the writer, the producer and myself, based on assumptions made from the two and a half minute long trailer,” he wrote.
In an open letter, he detailed his contribution to Pakistani cinema and revealed the trouble that surrounds his latest film from hitting the screens and why it shouldn’t be so.
“As a law-abiding citizen and with full conviction that there is nothing offensive or malicious in the film, in response I submitted the film for another review to the censor board. It was cleared once again with a few cuts to appease the complainants. I launched the promotional campaign and now, just a week before the film’s release, another attempt is being made by some group to stop the release of the film and this time they are hell-bent on using pressurising tactics”.
He said he and his team are being bullied and pressured. This also undermines a state institution like the Central Board of Film Censors and strips it of its authority and stature, he said.
“The space for rational and artistic thinking and expression must not be annexed by a few troublemakers for their political ends but I fear this is what will happen if we buckle under this time,” read Khoosat’s letter.
The film also ran into some trouble in October. The trailer was taken down from YouTube and re-uploaded with minor changes.
While addressing a press conference related to the removal of the trailer, the director said that the decision was made after some people raised concerns over certain scenes featured in the trailer. According to the first trailer, the film aims to shed light on the misuse of the blasphemy law.
Zindagi Tamasha created a major buzz when it won big at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. Khoosat’s directorial also won the Kim Ji-Seok Award, named after the festival’s co-founder and executive programmer who died in 2017. The filmmaker shared the award with Indian director Pradip Kurbah, whose film Market was also being screened at the festival.