Sarmad Khoosat’s upcoming film Zindagi Tamasha may have won big in South Korea but in its own country, it is suffering.
According to the filmmaker, there have been attempts to stop the film from releasing despite it being cleared by the Central Board of Film Censors.
In an open letter, he detailed his contribution to Pakistani cinema and revealed the trouble that surrounds his latest film from hitting the screens and why it shouldn’t be so.
Khoosat writes, “Like any other film, made in any part of the world, Zindagi Tamasha is a reflection of its setting. My team and I explored themes around gender constructs, class divisions and complex human experiences. There was never any intention to attack, to point fingers at or humiliate any individual or institution.”
He made sure to let us know that, “Upon completion, the film was cleared by all three censor boards of Pakistan and had its world premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival.”
“24 January was set as the release date. However, a ‘complaint’ was registered against the writer, the producer and myself, based on assumptions made from the two and a half minute long trailer..”
Khoosat went on to clarify, “As a law-abiding citizen and with full conviction that there is nothing offensive or malicious in the film. In response I submitted the film for another review to the censor board. It was cleared once again with a few cuts to appease the complainants. ”
According to the filmmaker, “Just a week before the film’s release, another attempt is being made by the same group to stop the release of the film and this time they are hell-bent on using pressurising tactics.”
“I am bringing this to your notice not just because my team and I are being bullied and pressurised but also because this series of episodes undermines a state institution like the Central Board of Film Censors and strips it of its authority and stature,” he added.
He ended his letter with, “The space for rational and artistic thinking and expression must not be annexed by a few troublemakers for their political ends but I fear this is what will happen if we buckle under this time.”
Zindagi Tamasha premiered at the Busan International Film Festival, where it won the Kim Ji-seok Award.
Earlier this month, the trailer for the film was taken down from YouTube, on which the director had said, “Khoosat Films took down the trailer from YouTube themselves. A trailer is just a tiny part of the entire film, there’s no context so a few people had some issues regarding the content of that clip and we took that into account. After minor tweaks, we’ll reupload it soon enough.”
That may have been the earlier complaints that the filmmaker was referring to in his letter, which has been getting a lot of support from people.
Zindagi Tamasha is slated for release January 24. Here is hoping it makes it