Raees banned in Pakistan as authorities claim SRK-starrer undermines Islam
Last week, Kaabil became the first film to be screened in Pakistan after the authorities lifted a self-imposed ban on import of Indian films
Rahul Dholakia's crime drama Raees has been banned in Pakistan. Its scheduled release on 5 February was cancelled on grounds of the censor board dubbing the film as an inappropriate portrayal of Muslims.
The Times of India reports that the film was banned because its content undermines Islam and a specific religious sect. It also portrays Muslims as criminals, wanted men and gangsters. Shah Rukh Khan, who is also a co-producer of the film, plays a Muslim gangster in the film.
Two months ago, certain sections of the Shia community in India had also objected to a shot in the trailer of the film in which Khan was seen jumping over a sacred religious structure. However, the issue was resolved mutually as it never obstructed the release of the film, which was passed by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with a U/A certificate and six minor verbal cuts.
Dholakia expressed his disappointment in the Pakistan censor board as he claimed that people across all communities are loving the film, as indicated by its box office collection both in India and overseas, including in Muslim-dominated countries like the UAE, Oman and Bahrain. Mid-Day quotes him as saying, "I think this ban will lead to rampant piracy since people across the border will definitely watch it."
#raeesbanned in Pakistan ??? Outraged !! Dumbfounded!!
— rahul dholakia (@rahuldholakia) February 6, 2017
Last week, Sanjay Gupta's revenge saga Kaabil became the first film to be screened in Pakistan this year after the country lifted a two-month long ban on import of Hindi films. After the Uri attack last September, the Indian Motion Pictures Association (IMPA) had banned Pakistani actors and technicians from working in the Indian film industry. As a form of retaliation, Pakistan had banned the screening of Indian films in the country.
However, after the ban was lifted last week, it was reported that Kaabil, Karan Johar's romantic drama Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Raees were scheduled to release in the country. Though Kaabil fared well in Pakistan after its release on 3 February, Raees was banned by the authorities on Sunday.
Raees also stars Pakistani actor Mahira Khan who could not promote the film in India owing to the tensions between the two countries in the last four months. However, in a video conference with fans in Mumbai, Mahira shared her excitement on the release of the film in her country and even said that there are more fans of Shah Rukh than hers back in Pakistan, according to another report by the Times of India.
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