There is a personal vendetta behind banning ‘Durj’: Shamoon Abbasi


KARACHI: The fate of Shamoon Abbasi’s Durj in Pakistan is still in limbo as the film heads for global release on October 11. The film was slated to released locally on October 18.

Actor-cum-producer had surplus concerns regarding the ongoing problems faced by the film. The film was initially cleared by censor boards in both Punjab and Sindh, but was suddenly rejected by the federal censor board, without informing what the actual problem was.

“When I inquired, I received a certificate saying that the ban was because cannibalism is ‘not a part of our culture and tradition,’ so it should not be showcased,” Abbasi told The Express Tribune. “As if it’s a part of anybody’s culture or tradition or whether the films actually playing in Pakistani cinemas even depict our culture.”

Abbasi also made a public statement on his social media regarding the matter.

He continued to clarify that there is nothing objectionable in the film and that the physical act of cannibalism has not been shown at all. “I don’t understand what has caused this revocation, my film does not have any vulgarity, not a single cuss word, not a single act of violence, and even if there is, I am willing to cut out whatever is objectionable if I am informed.”

Abbasi shared that Umar Khattab from the Sindh censor board said that there was nothing objectionable, but they had to follow Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) orders. In response to which, Abbasi has appealed to the central board to reconsider their decision.

Abbasi referred to the ban as a personal vendetta, after quoting recent incidents, “I’ve come to know that people are going to the cinemas and threatening the authorities to remove the trailers and posters from cinema premises. This is not something regular, there is a proper procedure, and people don’t just go into cinemas forcing others to take down the trailers.”

The censor board is taking Durj through a standard procedure due to its sensitive topic,” a CBFC member told The Express Tribune. “The producer’s appeal has been registered and a second panel is expected to review the film soon. No one is trying to stop the film intentionally.”

Abbasi continued to believe that there is a conscious effort to sabotage the film so that it does not turn out to be the blockbuster he believes it will become. “People knew it would become a blockbuster in Pakistan, what they couldn’t digest is, how could a film without an item song, or cheap jokes and vulgarity, be receiving such a huge following?”

He said his team just needed a panel to review the film once again, in order to precisely point out the issue so that it could be edited out, without imposing a complete ban on the film.
War actor’s claims regarding a possible conspiracy being manufactured to stop his film could not be verified through independent sources including distributors, exhibitors and other stakeholders.