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What a pity that while the government is doing absolutely zilch to promote cinema in Pakistan, it also puts up high hurdles preventing artistes from finding fame and fortune elsewhere.

Tere Bin Laden, starring Ali Zafar and directed by Abhishek Sharma in Bollywood, has been banned from screening in Pakistan. It was expected, given the nature of the film. The Mullah Brigade, after all, is infamous for not having a sense of humour and a satire on Osama Bin Laden would’ve been enough for fundo-reps on the censor board to stomach. Official reasons, of course, are much more civilized.

According to sources, the film has been banned to protect the people of Pakistan from any unexpected, unpleasant consequences carried out by extremist elements. If even a few crazy people find the film offensive, it was discussed, the cinemas might be damaged and people hurt. That potential danger must be prevented. Of course it must, because the state can provide absolutely no law and order to its people, especially for something as frivolous as a movie. My Name is Khan was released in India despite all kinds of threats. The government gave the people ample protection. Khuda Kay Liye had it’s own ration of threats and threats of censorship but at the end of the day it was the ISI support that carried it through to cinemas nationwide. Nobody is willing to make that effort for Ali Zafar because no-one’s money is riding on the film in Pakistan. Perhaps it would’ve been better for Ali to have signed up with GEO films, the clout of which would surely have pulled it through too.

For now, it really is Tere Bin Laden, for it’s a movie Pakistanis will have to go without. The film promises to make it big in India and seeing the silver lining in dark regressive clouds, the ban in Pakistan will possibly generate more interest in the film abroad. Enjoy, those of you who can!

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