Zindagi Tamasha: Sarmad Khoosat Pleads to Imran Khan to Save His Film
Sarmad Khoosat stated attempts are being made to stop Zindagi Tamasha from releasing at all. Mahira Khan came to his rescue, urging everyone to live and let live. Read on for full story
There is no denying that Sarmad Khoosat is one of the most sought-after filmmakers in Pakistani cinema. From Aina to Manto, there is no project that he has not aced and continues to do so. However, while he has had a smooth sailing past few years, it seems like 2020 kicked off with a tad bit of bad luck for Khoosat. After his upcoming film Zindagi Tamasha became the first Pakistani fiction to win accolades in South Korea, its trailer has not fared well in Pakistan. While the film was slated to release on January 4, 2020, Khoosat has now penned an open letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, stating that attempts are being made to stop the film from releasing at all.
میں بھی پاکستان ہوں— Sarmad Khoosat (@KhoosatSarmad) January 16, 2020
An open letter to:@ImranKhanPTI@ArifAlvi #Chiefjusticeofpakistan #Chiefofthearmystaffpakiatan#ministerofinformationpakistan@DanyalGilani #censorboardofpakistan #ZindagiTamasha #pakistanicinema pic.twitter.com/D10lS1V1gw
He uploaded the letter on his Instagram and Twitter handles, mentioning Zindagi Tamasha is once again being halted from release in cinemas. He began his letter by giving an insight of his contributions to the film industry. “Like any other film, made in any part of the world, Zindagi Tamasha is a reflection of its setting. My team and I explored themes around gender constructs, class divisions and complex human experiences. There was never any intention to attack, to point fingers at or humiliate any individual or institution.” Khoosat added that his forthcoming project has received raving responses from the international audience. “Upon completion, the film was cleared by all three censor boards of Pakistan and had its world premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival. January was set as the release date. However, a ‘complaint’ was registered against the writer, the producer and myself, based on assumptions made from the two and a half minute long trailer.” It was the first complaint that allegedly ruined everything for Khoosat and the remainder of Zindagi Tamasha’s cast and crew.
Khoosat said, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring this film to its original intended audience, however, a complaint was registered against the writer, producer and myself based on assumptions made from the trailer,” he said. “As a law-abiding citizen and with full conviction that there is nothing offensive or malicious in the film. In response I submitted the film for another review to the censor board. It was cleared once again with a few cuts to appease the complainants.”
According to the director, the same people who tried stopping his film from releasing are back at it. “Just a week before the film’s release, another attempt is being made by the same group to stop the release of the film and this time they are hell-bent on using pressurising tactics. I am bringing this to your notice not just because my team and I are being bullied and pressurised but also because this series of episodes undermines a state institution like the Central Board of Film Censors and strips it of its authority and stature,” he mentioned.
Khoosat concluded, “The space for rational and artistic thinking and expression must not be annexed by a few troublemakers for their political ends but I fear this is what will happen if we buckle under this time.” Zindagi Tamasha premiered at the Busan International Film Festival, where it won the Kim Ji-seok Award. Previously, Khoosat told several media outlets how he respected the censor board’s decision. “They were certain people who got offended, thinking I was pointing fingers at them. That wasn’t the idea and I was completely fine with re-editing the trailer. However, what’s problematic is that anytime one picks out a theme which people are uncomfortable discussing in public spaces or even behind closed doors, has to be deemed controversial.” Mahira Khan was quick to come to Khoosat’s defence. Taking to social media, she added his post to her Instagram story and captioned it, “For God’s sake let the sane voices live and speak.” Zindagi Tamasha is now scheduled for release on January 24. Fingers crossed, the film will see the light of the day in cinema halls soon!