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Pakistan's mixed reactions to Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan's 'Raees' ban

Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan in 'Raees'
Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan in 'Raees'

Pakistani cinephiles, critics and the industry's stakeholders have reacted to the state's Central Film Censor Board's (CFCB) ban on the screening of the Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan-starrer, Raees, following the government's decision to screen Indian films in Pak theatres. While fans of the actors, among other critics, have slammed the move on social media, noted personalities have backed the decision.

CFCB chairman Mobashar Hassan said the ban was imposed after lengthy discussions. "The consensus was that the film has an anti-Islam and anti-Muslim theme and portrays Muslims negatively. Also, the portrayal of a particular sect could lead to [adverse] reactions," he said, adding that the ban would not affect the release of other Indian films.

However, noted film critic Omair Alavi termed the ban disappointing, adding, "Many cinema owners were looking forward to recoup the losses they had incurred after the ban on Indian films in September (2016)."

A report in a Pakistani publication claimed that the provincial censor boards in Punjab and Sindh were at odds with the move of the Central Censor Board, which cited "inappropriate content" as the reason for withholding the release certificate. Mohsin Yaseen, marketing manager of the state's Cinepax chain, supported the decision claiming that the boards "must have thought this through." Other producers and stakeholders added that the country would make up for the losses through subsequent releases.

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