Verna: To Ban or Not to Ban?


Shoaib Mansoor is one Pakistani filmmaker who has never disappointed, ever. From ‘Jharnay’ in the late 70s to Bol in 2011, whatever he has written, directed or produced has been well-received by the audience.

He can easily be termed as Pakistan’s answer to the likes of Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese as he has excelled in comedy (Fifty Fifty), Rom-Com (Ankahi), Music (Music ’89, Geetar ’93), Travelogue (Gulls & Guys), Drama (Bol, Khuda Kay Liye) and ISPR productions (Sunehray Din and Alpha Bravo Charlie). He knows what the audience wants and delivers exactly that.

By raising objections on #Verna, the Islamabad Censor Board has made a mockery of themselves rather than denting the career of the one and only ShoMan.

This is not the first time the CBFC has done something that doesn’t make sense. They were the ones who banned Maalik in the third week and deleted the Air Lift scene in Akshay Kumar’s film that was named Air Lift. The main dialogue of Jolly LLB2 was censored rendering the film senseless and also deleted a few Amitabhesque dialogues in Sahir Lodhi’s Raasta just because they failed to understand them.

They also had issues with possibly the most complete film made in Pakistan – Actor In Law – which is nothing short of a joke.

My question is – are the Censor people the right people to judge whether to ban a film or not?

I don’t think so!

There is a reason why films are certified all over the world. But this practice is not followed in Pakistan for reasons better known by the censor board.

They would rather edit a frame out of the film and cheat the public than certify a film and release it in its entirety. If someone is to be blamed for the downfall of Pakistani films, it is these non-film people who should not even be allowed to enter a cinema let alone censor a film.

When Zulfiqar Ramzi and Fakhr e Alam were heading the Censor Board, things were running smoothly as their team had sensible people judging films instead of those who are as disconnected with the evolving audience as our rulers are from those who elect them.

As for #Verna, the Islamabad Censor people might believe that the film is unfit for the audience because of its dialogues and portrayal of public figures.

Isn’t the same thing happening on TV where public figures are made fun of, where a rapist is glorified, where a rape victim is considered to be the guilty one until proven otherwise and where dramas are handling topics that were previously addressed only in films?

There is a stark difference between films and TV around the world where films are larger than life and TV handles things that are closer to reality but our Censor people don’t even know the difference.

Until that changes, we will continue to have mini-revivals after each downfall and the dream of filmmakers to make movies like The Post, Captain Phillips and 3 Idiots will remain just a dream.

The film will be viewed by a full board, later in the day to decide whether to ban or allow it.

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