Sonam Kapoor’s Neerja Bhanot, a biopic on Pan Am Flight 73’s hijacking at the Karachi airport in 1986, has joined a list of films banned in Pakistan for containing ‘objectionable content’ that portrays the country in poor light. In fact, this is Sonam’s third film to be banned in Pakistan in the last three years: Raanjhanaa and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag too didn’t get a theatrical release in the neighbouring country.
We take a look at some other big-ticket Bollywood films that were banned in Pakistan:
Phantom (2015): Jamat-ud-Dawah chief and alleged 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed filed a petition in Lahore high court, seeking a ban on the film, alleging that it contains “filthy propaganda” against Pakistan.
Calendar Girls (2015): This Madhur Bhandarkar’s film was banned in that country for containing ‘objectionable’ dialogue. According to a report, the Pakistan Ministry of Culture objected to the dialogue -- ‘Pakistani ladkiyaan bhi utne hi bold kaam karti hain jitni baaki ladkiyaan karti hain, balki kabhi kabhi uss se zyada bhi’. There was another problem: Pakistani authorities didn’t like that Avani Modi, who plays an aspiring Pakistani supermodel Nazneen Mallik in the film, was shown wearing a bikini!
Baby (2015): Reports suggest that Pakistan’s censor board felt that this Akshay Kumar-starrer portrayed “a negative image of Muslims” in the film. Even worse, the board didn’t like the fact that all the negative characters in the film “had Muslim names”.
Bangistan (2015): Pakistan authorities reportedly banned this Riteish Deshmukh-Pulkit Samrat-starrer after watching just the trailer. Their contention: The film was “anti-Pakistan, anti-Muslim”.
Haider (2014): Vishal Bhardwaj’s take on Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet , set against the backdrop of sectarian strife in Kashmir, was not released in Pakistani theatres in 2013. The film was not cleared by Pakistan’s censor board because of ‘controversial elements related to Kashmir’.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013): The Farhan Akhtar-Sonam Kapoor starrer was barred from a theatrical release in Pakistan before getting the final clearance.
Raanjhanaa (2013): The film was banned because of its alleged “controversial theme”. It reportedly portrayed “an inept image of a Muslim girl falling in love with a Hindu man and having an affair with him”.
Ek Tha Tiger (2012): The Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif-starrer was allegedly banned in Pakistan for its depiction of the country’s security agencies. According to a report, it had “several themes referring to Pakistan’s agencies”.
Agent Vinod (2012): The film was banned as it was against their state spy agency, ISI.
The Dirty Picture (2011): The Vidya Balan-starrer was never screened in Pakistan as it was deemed unsuitable for theatrical exhibition because of its “subject matter and bold scenes”.
Tere Bin Laden (201 0): The satire was banned in Pakistan as officials feared its title could be misconstrued by Islamist extremists as reason for attack.
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