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Ironically, the film which isn’t recognized or even released in Pakistani cinemas is conquering the global market. Sarmad Khoosat’s directorial Zindagi Tamasha, which was banned in its home country in 2020, has recently won two accolades at the 6th Annual Asian World Film Festival.

Actor Arif Hassan who essayed the lead role of Rahat Khawaja in Zindagi Tamasha (Circus of Life), has bagged the Snow Leopard Award for Best Actor, presented by Jury member Joanne Goh and Sarmad also received Leopard Award for Best Film from Jury member Luba Balagova Kandoor.

The event, held virtually on March 15, witnessed the inclusion of 40 films from over 20 participating countries, all of which were showcased during the 6-day fest. Films included 11 Oscar submissions for Best International Feature Film and 12 Golden Globe submissions for Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language.

After the news became public, renowned Pakistani writer Muhammad Hanif turned to Twitter to congratulate the team.

“Congratulations to makers of Zindagi Tamasha. Not tagging them as still scared for them. Not saying FU to those who stopped its release cos still scared of them,” he wrote.



Written by Nirmal Bano, Zindagi Tamasha features Arif Hassan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleman and Ali Kureshi in the lead. The film is centered around a naat khwan Rahat Khawaja (played by Arif Hassan) and his family who are outcast from the society when a secret from Khawaja’s personal life is leaked.

Unfortunately, the film was embroiled in controversy prior to its release in Pakistan and was banned eventually. However, it has won international accolade, including the Kim Ji-Seok Award at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. It was also Pakistan’s official submission for Oscars in 2021.

Later, we saw a glimmer of hope in July last year, when the Senate Committee on Human Rights approved Zindagi Tamasha for screening. Now we are eagerly waiting for the coronavirus scare to pass so that we get to see the film on big screen.