Ever since the independence of the country in 1947, many cultural norms were picked up by the new Pakistani nation who had lived with their Hindu counterparts for years.
One of the biggest things that were to become a norm was the screening of Bollywood movies which were big even then and soon the country started playing Indian movies in the country or making them available on VHS. And seeing the surge in demand, more rules and regulations came into existence in order to control the content coming across from the border.
Here are some of the reasons why many Bollywood movies never got a theatrical release in the country.
After coming into power in 1979, General Zia-ul-Haq made the rules for the content being screened in Pakistan even stricter and regulated under the Islamization agenda he had implemented on the country, which saw many changes in the things like the programming on Television as well as Clothing. Even the curriculum of the school was changed as per Nizam-e-Mustafa (“Rule of the prophet” Muhammad).
Censor Board Regulation Body
The Central Board of Film Censors which screens all movies being played in Pakistan came into existence during the reign of General Zia-ul-Haq. It is a film censorship board and rating system body under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the Government of Pakistan. The board follows a strict rating system that is pre-defined and each movie is censored or passed by the board as per its content.
Certifications are refused if, in the opinion of the board, the film or any part thereof:
• Ridicules disparages or attacks Islam or any religious sect, caste and creed.
• Questions the integrity, security, or defense of Pakistan or hurts national sentiments.
• Undermines public order, decency or morality, which includes vulgar dialogues, songs, or gestures.
• Glorifies vice or crime or amounts to incitement of a criminal offense.
Post 9/11 strict codes
The structure of power and the world in itself changed after the incident of 9/11, where maximum blame of terrorism was placed on Pakistan’s shoulders and the country and its people suffered long and hard due to this within the country and across the world.
Keeping this in mind, whenever a Bollywood movie covers the showing of Pakistan as being the mastermind behind 9/11 or any form of terrorism done by the Pakistani people, that movie is strictly banned across the country as the subject matter is hurtful to the masses.
Some movies that were banned due to this are as follows:
1- Tere Bin Laden: the movie banned in Pakistan fearing the title could be misconstrued by Islamist extremists as a reason for the attack.
Agencies Portrayal Objectified
Various agencies of Pakistan are portrayed as the evil masterminds behind everything wrong in India and are shown in a false light. And for this reason, movies portraying these prestigious agencies of the country with bias are banned in the country as people refuse to let the name of their well-respected agencies tarnish in the name of entertainment.
1- Ek Tha Tiger: The Salman Khan starrer was banned because the ISI agent role was depicted by Katrina Kaif’s character in a negative light.
2- Agent Vinod: The movie was banned as it was against ISI spy agency.
3- Ambarsariya: The movie was banned in Pakistan due to direct references to Indian intelligence agency RAW inside the movie.
4- Tiger Zinda Hai: Like its predecessor, the movie was banned as Katrina Kaif’s character is shown as a rogue ISI agent.
5- Raazi: Was banned as it showed an intelligence agent who spied Pakistan for India.
The portrayal of certain characters and events
Indian Cinema like any other movie industry has the habit of glorifying an event or personality in their favor all the while tarnishing the image of the opponent by bending the real facts however they please. Some movies are also banned due to the portrayal of characters that will hurt the sentiments of the more religious sect as a non-muslim would be glorified too much.
1- Bhaag Milkha Bhaag: Was banned because it portrays the achievements of Milkha Singh, a person of the Sikh Community in India.
2- Raanjhanaa: Banned because the film portrays an image of a Muslim girl (played by Sonam Kapoor) falling in love with a Hindu man and having an affair with him.
3- Children of War: It was banned for its portrayal of the 1971 war contrary to Pakistan’s view.
4- Phantom: One of the most disliked movies to be banned in Pakistan was Phantom which shows Pakistan clearly as the bad guy. Phantom is about the 26/11 attacks based on the book Mumbai Avengers by Hussain Zaidi.
Kashmir Issue has not become such a sensitive and almost patriotic topic after Imran Khan’s pressure on India in the Global Community to free Kashmir, rather it has been a thing for the past 73 years, ever since Pakistan got its Independence. So any movie trying to show the Kashmir issue and misrepresenting it, is banned.
1- Haider: The Shahid Kapoor starrer based on “Hamlet” was banned as it depicts Kashmir insurgency, a sensitive issue in the country.
2- Jolly LLB 2: The movie was banned because the film makes references to the Kashmir issue.
Showing Pakistan as a Radical Country
With a plethora of movies where either the Muslim community or Pakistan is shown as a radical country with people so evil that they’d do anything to get what they want are just plainly in bad taste and are banned as they serve no purpose to be shown in the country who is being ridiculed in the country.
1- Baby: a Bollywood film based on Terrorism was banned in Pakistan.
2- Bangistan: a film about two suicide bombers was banned by Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors.
3- Dishoom: The movie was banned because the movie talks about an Indian cricketer getting kidnapped before India and Pakistan match and that causes the country to think it is against Pakistan.
4- Neerja: Showing a real event, the movie was banned by Pakistan for allegedly showing the country in a bad light.
5- Naam Shabana: The movie was again banned as it showed Pakistan in bad taste.
Language, Clothing and Taboo Subjects
Being an Islamic state, Pakistan and its people are very sensitive when it comes to clothing, language and how (if) the religion is portrayed in the movie as movie-going is a family outing thing in Pakistan and such movies become awkward and offensive to watch.
1- Delhi Belly: The movie was not allowed to be screened by the censor board because of the language.
2- Calendar Girls: The movie was banned by Pakistan due to objection in one of the dialogues in the film.
3- Udta Punjab: The movie was banned due to the use of abusive language.
India-Pakistan border conflict
The most sensitive of all the topics is that of the “Border Conflict”, the two countries have been at odds since the inception of Pakistan and any movie portraying that is just a “No No” for the people.
Both the movies below were banned due to this very fact:
2- Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Now that Bollywood movies are banned, much content is being missed out but many Pakistani movies themselves are being banned due to various reasons as well now.