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Monday, May 20, 2024

Pakistan is not Ready for Truth Yet: Shamoon Abbasi’s Movie on Cannibalism Banned

As Shamoon Abbasi is set for an adventure in Pakistani cinema with a movie on a rather peculiar topic like cannibalism, the censor board’s ban has left him puzzled. 

Actor-producer Shamoon Abbasi’s upcoming movie Durj has been banned from release in Pakistan. The film was slated to release on October 18th. The censor board has barred the movie from display in the cinema screens without quoting any specific objections on the movie.

Shamoon Abbasi informed that the film censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh approved the movie but rejected by the federal censor board.


“Suddenly, something happened; [the clearances from Punjab and Sindh] got revoked and the ones pending were put on hold. This is what we know for now and definitely, we will have to counter the process.”

The movie, however, will be released internationally on October 18th in multiple countries including the US, UK, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar.

Pakistan’s film industry picked up with the release of Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ starring Shaan and Fawad Khan

The clueless Abbasi on the ban asserted he is unsure what could have been objectionable in the film, which is based on the true story of a pair of brothers who dug up over 100 graves and cannibalized the corpses. He says the objection would be more understandable had there been a unanimous rejection from all four provincial censor boards.

“We never wanted to glorify cannibalism. It [has] a storyline, and in the film, we researched the mindset of these people and we tried to get at the root cause and the thought process so that others can understand how they think and act.”

“It’s a very sensitive film with no blood or gore, it’s not the type of film to be banned outright as such, so I am not sure what happened,” Abbasi added.

“Members of Central Board of Film Censors viewed the feature film as per prevalent censorship rules and did not consider it appropriate for public exhibition in cinema houses,” Danyal Gilani, chairman of the Central Board of Film Censors,

Read more: ‘Cake’ and ‘Salam’ win awards at South Asian Film Festival Montreal

Abbasi informed that initially they not had planned for releasing the movie in Pakistan but did so after receiving an overwhelmed response following the announcement of dates for international release. He is optimistic to get the decision in his favor in the final appeal against the ban.

“I said it will be released [in Pakistan], but honestly, we had a hunch that it could be a problem. But when it came to the censor board and — apart from two minor nude scenes — it was cleared, and we thought everything is fine because the film doesn’t have that sort of blood and gore.”


Abbasi added that in the final review, he will seek the last chance and an answer as to why two boards approved it and the federal board rejected it.

Shamoon Abbasi

Shamoon Abbasi is a Pakistani actor, he is a director and screenwriter, better known for portraying villainous roles. Abbasi has directed adventure shows such as the Indonesian game show Morven Gold Adventure Bali, Sunsilk 21st Century Woman of Pakistan, Rescue 15 and reality shows such as Saye, which was based on the paranormal activities. Abbasi became notable in 1999 for his serial Kashish.

In 2013 he starred in drama serial Nanhi, In 2011, he starred in two Pakistani films, Bhai Log and Waar, produced by Mindworks and directed by Bilal Lashari. In 2019 he will direct and play the lead role in another web-series, ‘The legend of JAWED IQBAL, about the famous serial killer.

Pakistan’s Film Industry Rise

After a downfall for decades, Pakistan’s film industry picked up again with the release of Shoaib Mansoor’s ‘Khuda Kay Liye’ starring Shaan and Fawad Khan. The movie marked the new dawn for the struggling film industry of Pakistan, following which several movies rolled out in the film industry in the past few years.

Pakistan’s film industry despite being in its emerging phase has managed to produce some best-selling movies like ‘Na Maloom Afraad’, ‘Bin Roye’, ‘Jawani Phir Nahi Ani’, ‘Verna’ ‘Waar’, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, and Load Wedding.

Read more: Pakistani film Actor-in-Law to be screened in cross-border Mumbai

Pakistan’s entertainment industry is making its journey back to glory, producing diverse contents like Cake, Lal Kabootar, and Zindagi Tamasha Hai, the success of which have even echoed internationally. Zindagi Tamasha Hai has been selected for screening at Busan International Film Festival – where Pakistani films like Moor have also been showcased in the past – has been nominated for the Kim Jeosuk Award.

Pakistani actor Ahmed Ali Akbar has bagged an international award for ‘Best Actor’ at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival for his stellar performance in the acclaimed movie Laal Kabootar.

But, despite the production of distinct content, the audiences of Pakistan seem unprepared to digest the movies on peculiar subjects like cannibalism. While the content-creators have matured, the ordinary cinema audiences perhaps require time to catch up.