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Joyland Oscar

After receiving several accolades and garnering appreciation worldwide, Saim Sadiq’s directorial debut film Joyland was set to release in Pakistan on November 18th. However, days before the film’s release, on 11th November, the news came to light that Pakistan’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has reversed its decision to release the film.

The film got recognition on many international platforms and has bagged a number of awards including winning the Queer Palm and Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. It also got an eight-minute standing ovation at Cannes. In addition, the film also won the award for the ‘Best Film From The Subcontinent’ at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. Moreover, the film got another standing ovation this September at the Toronto International Film Festival at its North American premiere. It is unfortunate that Pakistani audiences would be deprived of this masterpiece. Here is what happened.

On August 17, 2022, the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) Islamabad granted the censor certificate to Joyland. However, after receiving written complaints from people the board decided to reverse their decision and The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting declared the film “uncertified”.

Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed tweeted a letter initiated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcast. It read:

“…On the release of the film, Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material which do not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality’ as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9(2) (a) of the said Ordinance and after conducting a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled ‘Joyland’ as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in the cinemas which fall under the jurisdiction of CBFC with immediate effect.”

Inevitably, this caused a stir on social media. Celebrities united in support of the film, calling it a ‘smear campaign’ and demanded the film be released.

The director of the film, Saim Sadiq shared his views on the ban on Instagram and stated that he and the rest of the team are “gutted by this development but fully intend to raise voice against this grave injustice.”



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A post shared by Saim Sadiq (@saim.sadiq)

One of the producers of the film, Sana Jafri also shared a story on her social media which read, “They’re doing it again! There are smear campaigns to ban Joyland. A dark day for all artists in Pakistan yet again. We need your support to make sure we don’t let these violent, insensitive, extremists win again.”

Tooba Siddiqui also posted:

Sajal Aly also demanded the release of  the film:


Sarwat Gilani posted a series of tweets to express her exasperation with the news:

“There’s a paid smear campaign doing rounds against #Joyland, a film that made history for Pakistani cinema, got passed by all censor boards but now authorities are caving into pressure from some malicious people who have not even seen the film”

“Shameful that a Pakistani film made by 200 Pakistanis over 6 years that got standing ovations from Toronto to Cairo to Cannes is being hindered in its own country. Don’t take away this moment of pride and joy from our people!”

“No one’s forcing anyone to watch it! So don’t force anyone to not watch it either! Pakistani viewers are smart enough to know what they want to watch or not. Let Pakistanis decide! Don’t insult their intelligence and our hard work!”

Osman Khalid Butt also stood in support of the film’s release and wrote:

“Can you please confirm the authenticity of this letter (shared by a member of Senate), because if Joyland has been declared an uncertified film, I’ve got some questions.”

“The CFBC cleared Joyland for release in August. So the members of the Board had no issues with the theme/content of the film, correct? The film is set to release on the 18th, which makes point 2 not just severely misleading but factually incorrect.”

“As a nation that has celebrated Joyland’s many milestones and achievements, it is incredibly disheartening to see you cave under the pressure of ‘written complaints’ (by..who, exactly? Where and how have these people seen the film?)”

“There are testimonies by people who’ve 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 seen the film at Cannes, at TIFF (not those judging by hearsay/bias), who claim there’s absolutely nothing objectionable about Joyland. We’ve seen the same happen with Verna, with Maalik, with Zindagi Tamasha…”

“If the themes of Joyland (and this is a hypothesis – I haven’t seen the film) are too sensitive/mature for general audiences, then give it an appropriate rating. There’s precedent.But don’t deprive us of watching the film.”

“Can our cinema please, for once, not be held hostage by what seems to be an entirely arbitrary Ordinance?
There seems to be no issue with hyperviolence, regressive themes, adult jokes and content, overt sexualisation onscreen…but trans representation is where we draw the line?”

Mira Sethi also defended the release of Joyland by replying to a twitter user: “Hi @Marriyum_A.The ban on #Joyland makes no sense. (1) You can’t claim to be a democrat but go around banning movies and art! (2) We go on about “showing Pakistan’s positive side”—this movie does exactly that, by putting Pakistani cinema on the world map. #ReleaseJoyland”

Nadia Jamil said: “Quran is much greater than a mere Oscar Putar. It is THE Greatest Word. Do not compare the two. Tauba Astaghfar. And respect the Khawajasirah community 4 Allah made them like He made you & they read the same Quran.”


She added: “Ban filthy extremism. Ban terrorists. Ban hate. Ban killing. Ban domestic abuse. Ban rape. Ban Child Sexual Abuse. Never heard you want to ban those. Oh and btw #ReleaseJoyland”

Sanam Saeed also joined the bandwagon: “#ReleaseJoyland ! There is no reason not to. Be proud of the work that our artists create not afraid! Give your own people the respect they get in foreign lands. Support us, stand by us and we as Pakistani artists will make this country proud!”

According to IMDb, the story of the film revolves around a “…happily patriarchal Rana family who craves for the birth of a baby boy. the youngest of the Rana men secretly joins an erotic dance theatre and finds himself falling for a fiercely ambitious trans starlet. Their impossible love story slowly illuminates the entire Rana family’s desire for a sexual rebellion.”

Written by Saim Sadiq and Maggie Briggs, directed by Saim Sadiq, and produced by Sarmad Khoosat, the film features Ali Junejo, Alina Khan, Rasti Farooq, Sarwat Gilani, Sania Saeed, Sohail Sameer, and Salmaan Peerzada.

Rasti Farooq, one of the actors in the film, posted a way through which you can help Joyland.


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A post shared by Rasti Farooq (@rastisthirdact)

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