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Senate Panel Gives Go Ahead for ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ Release

by Newsweek Pakistan
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A promotional poster for Zindagi Tamasha.

Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights chairperson says censor board has been instructed to release film after pandemic

The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights chairperson on Tuesday announced that the panel had “found nothing wrong” with Sarmad Khoosat’s film Zindagi Tamasha.

In a post on Twitter, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar, who heads the standing committee, said it had “unanimously agreed with censor board’s decision to allow screening of movie Zindagi Tamasha.”

He said the censor board had been given the “go ahead to release [the movie] post-COVID.”

Zindagi Tamasha already premiered at the Busan International Film Festival and was set for mass release in Pakistan before it sparked controversy after the rightwing Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan warned it would stage nationwide protests if the “blasphemous” movie were released.

The government sought to resolve the controversy by saying the movie would be sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology for review—despite it already having been cleared twice by Pakistan’s censor boards. In March, the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights took up the matter and barred the CII from reviewing the film.

Zindagi Tamasha, Khoosat’s second film, is a bilingual movie shot in Lahore and starring Eman Suleman, Samiya Mumtaz, Arif Hasan and Ali Qureshi. It depicts the story of a devout Muslim who has a secret passion for dance. A video of him dancing at wedding goes viral, resulting in chaos as his own children and neighbors criticize him and his actions. “[It] provides a calm and detailed picture of challenging issues, such as forbidden passions in a strict Muslim society and the search for the identity of an elderly man who gradually comes to realize his ‘minoritiness,’” adds the official plot synopsis.

The film, written by Nirmal Bano, was set to release on Jan. 24, 2020. Despite being cleared, it is unclear when it would be released as cinemas and theaters remain closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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