Barbie delayed in Pakistan province over 'objectionable content'

AFP , Saturday 22 Jul 2023

The "Barbie" film's release was delayed in Pakistan's Punjab province Friday over "objectionable content", officials said.

Barbie
(Photo: AFP)

 

Films in Pakistan need to be cleared by provincial boards that censor anything deemed a violation of the country's social and cultural values.

"There will be a full review of the film, and it will be censored where deemed necessary," Farrukh Mahmood, secretary of the Punjab Film Censor Board, told AFP.

He said that the fantasy-comedy film, which stars Margot Robbie as the famous doll and Ryan Gosling as her boyfriend Ken, will be cleared for screening once the review and censoring process is complete.

The board did not clarify which content was "objectionable", nor why.

While fans in Pakistan's most populous province will have to wait to watch "Barbie", the film was due to be screened from Friday in the capital Islamabad and the southern province of Sindh, where it was cleared by the respective censor boards.

"I have been looking forward to watching Barbie for months. It makes no sense that it's ok to be shown in Karachi or Islamabad, but not Lahore," Nousheen Saad, a resident of Punjab's capital city of Lahore told AFP.

In November, "Joyland" -- a Cannes prize-winning film and Pakistan's entry for the 2023 Oscars -- was banned by the government for being "clearly repugnant to the norms of decency and morality" of the country.

"Joyland" depicts a Pakistani married man's affair with a transgender woman.

The film was later cleared by the national censorship board after the government ordered a review, but it remained banned in Punjab.

In 2019, the film "Zindagi Tamasha" was banned after its director was accused of blasphemy by a far-right religious party for the movie's portrayal of a religious man who composes hymns and is caught dancing at a family event.

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