Oscar Contender Film 'Joyland' Banned By Government For Not Conforming To 'Moral Standards'

Oscar Contender Film 'Joyland' Banned By Government For Not Conforming To 'Moral Standards'
Internationally acclaimed film Joyland has been banned by the authorities a week before it was due for release in Pakistan. The film was given clearance by the censor board in August of this year.

Joyland won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes Film Festival, a prestigious film festival. It is Pakistan’s official submission to the Oscars and has won at London Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival among others.

A notification from the ministry of information and broadcasting says: “Written complaints were received that the film contains highly objectionable material which do not conform with the social values and moral standards of our society and is clearly repugnant to the norms of ‘decency and morality’ as laid down in Section 9 of the Motion Picture Ordinance, 1979... “Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 9(2) (a) of the said Ordinance and after conducting a comprehensive inquiry, the Federal Government declares the feature film titled ‘Joyland’ as an uncertified film for the whole of Pakistan in the cinemas which fall under the jurisdiction of CBFC with immediate effect.”

Last Friday, the film won the Asia Pacific Screen Awards’ young cinema award, given in partnership with critics’ association NETPAC and the Griffith Film School.

Artist Sarwat Gilani who acts in the film tweeted that the film faced "a paid smear campaign". She added . "a film that made history for Pakistani cinema, got passed by all censor boards but now authorities are caving into pressure from some malicious people who have not even seen the film."


Rights activist Usama Khilji asked the authorities as to why the censor board’s approval was reversed a week before release? He also asked why were complaints by people who haven’t seen the film accepted?



Salman Sufi, who heads PM's strategic reforms unit, disagreed with the ban and said he would speak to the concerned minister.


Joyalnd is Saim Sadiq’s debut feature film, won the top prize at the Un Certain Regard, a section of the festival dedicated to young, up-and-coming talent and films about marginalized themes.

The movie stars Ali Junejo, Rasti Farooq, Alina Khan, and Sarwat Gilani. The story revolves around the themes of patriarchy, queerness, and gender and identity. It follows the story of Haider, the youngest son of a typical middle-class patriarch who wants nothing more than his two sons to give grandsons. However, unbeknownst to his father, Haider becomes the backup dancer for a transgender dancer, and eventually the two fall in love.

It was both written and directed by Saim Sadiq, and features Sana Jafri as a co-producer, as well as an original score by Abdullah Siddique.


#ReleaseJoyland has been trending on Twitter since Saturday night.