Within days of lifting a self-imposed ban on Indian films, Pakistani exhibitors were informed on Monday that Shah Rukh Khan’s much-awaited Raees will not be released in the country as it depicts Islam in a “negative light”.
The Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) said the film, which is the Bollywood debut of Pakistani actor Mahira Khan, will not be cleared for release because of its “objectionable” content, the media reported.
An unnamed official was quoted by The Express Tribune as saying: “Owing to subtle portrayal of Muslims as criminals, violent and terrorists, the recommendations forwarded by the CBFC panel deemed the film unsuitable for public screening.”
The official added, “We could not issue a certificate because the film portrays Islam and a particular Muslim sect in a negative light.”
Most members of the censor board of Punjab province objected to the film’s release, an official of the panel said. The film was reviewed last week by the censor boards of Punjab and Sindh provinces.
The ban imposed by Pakistani exhibitors on Bollywood films ended on February 1, when Karachi’s Atrium Cinemas screened Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil. The information ministry and CBFC also cleared Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil for screening in the country.
The release of Raees and Kaabil had run into rough weather because of India-Pakistan tensions. Pakistani actors and technicians were barred from working in Bollywood productions by the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association after the terror attack on an army camp at Uri in Kashmir last year.
Pakistani film distributors retaliated by imposing an informal ban on the screening of Indian movies.
Mahira Khan was unable to promote Raees in India.