The Hollywood film ‘Barbie’, directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, lately confronted a major hurdle in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The movie’s screening was quickly halted because of what officers termed as “objectionable content material”. This choice sparked a wave of hypothesis and criticism, notably on social media platforms.
The controversy started when the Punjab Movie Censor Board didn’t problem a No-Objection Certificates (NOC) for the movie. Studies of the film being banned began circulating on-line, with some movie-goers even claiming that they have been requested to get a refund for his or her tickets because the film stopped screening halfway. Main cinemas in Lahore, the provincial capital, comparable to Cue Cinemas, Cine Star, and Common Cinemas, weren’t screening the film, additional fuelling speculations of a potential ban.
The “objectionable content material” referred to dialogues that allegedly promoted homosexuality, a subject thought-about taboo and outlawed in Pakistan. The movie was later allowed to be screened after these dialogues have been eliminated. Nevertheless, this choice was met with backlash from varied quarters. Critics argued that the censorship mirrored an intolerance in the direction of LGBTQ+ content material and a pandering to inflexible non secular fanatics.
Apparently, the native distributor HKC Leisure initially resisted the censor board’s demand to take away the stated dialogues. Nevertheless, they finally agreed to make the modifications, and the film was subsequently launched throughout the Punjab province. It’s noteworthy that the film didn’t face any cuts in different areas of Pakistan, together with Sindh and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
This incident is just not an remoted one. Pakistan has a historical past of banning movies that problem cultural norms or are perceived to violate the nation’s social, cultural, and non secular values. For example, in November 2022, the movie ‘Joyland’ confronted a nationwide ban for its LGBTQ+ content material. Equally, in 2019, the movie ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ was banned after its director was accused of blasphemy by a far-right non secular get together.
The short-term ban on ‘Barbie’ drew criticism on social media, with customers questioning the rationale behind the choice. Some identified that there was no express LGBTQ+ content material within the film, whereas others criticized the perceived intolerance in the direction of content material that challenges societal norms.