What's the real reason behind Pakistan banning 'Bangistan'?
Following reports about 'Bangistan' being denied a release in Pakistan, chairperson of the Sindh Board of Film Censors, Fakhr-e-Alam, says the makers hadn’t applied for certification
A day after Bangistan makers announced that their film had been banned in Pakistan, chairperson of the Sindh Board of Film Censors, Fakhr-e-Alam, has contested the claim. The film starring Riteish Deshmukh and Pulkit Samrat is about two suicide bombers, one Hindu and the other, a Muslim.
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Fakhr-e-Alam (left) and Ritesh Sidhwani
Says Alam, “Bangistan has not been imported into Pakistan till date. Unless a local distributor imports it and applies for certification, we cannot preview the film. Until we preview the film, we cannot give a verdict on it. Till date, we have not received any application.”
A still from 'Bangistan'
On Thursday, producer, the film’s producer Ritesh Sidhwani had tweeted saying: “#Bangistan banned in #Pakistan #UAE I’m now told may be #Singapore as well. Can the censor boards in these countries give us a written explanation clearly specifying what did they find offensive in our film..I’m shocked as to how they have missed the message (sic).”
Some reports claimed that the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) in Pakistan had decided against certifying the film after a preview on Wednesday afternoon and also requested all the provincial boards to impose a ban on 'Bangistan'. However, Alam insists that he neither received any request for certification nor instructions from the CBFC authorities to ban the film. “Maybe, the CBFC received an application, but that usually doesn’t happen since the distributor sends it to all provincial boards at the same time. Perhaps, I am missing a link. But I just checked with my staff again and we have not got any application,” he adds.
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When we contacted Sidhwani to comment on Alam’s allegation, he asked us to speak to Pranab Kapadia of Eros International, who is handling the overseas distribution for Bangistan. Kapadia clarifies, “There are three Censor Boards in Pakistan. The first application was made in Islamabad and when they rejected it, we submitted the film in Lahore. However, they too rejected it. So, we didn’t see any merit in applying in Karachi (capital of Sindh) because the central board had already refused to certify it.”