There has been a complete disaster with censor boards right now as fate of film Manmarziyan stays uncertain. Film was issued Censor Certificates by provincial censor boards i.e Punjab Board of Film Censors (PBFC) and Sindh Board Of Film Censors (SBFC) but got banned by Central Board Of Film Censors (CBFC). Certificate of CBFC is only valid in Islamabad so Manmrziyan should have seen clean release in all cinemas of Pakistan except four cinemas of Islamabad. But sadly that hasn’t happened as we are right now seeing a chaos.
Distributor is claiming that film is being played in both Sindh and Punjab whereas film is playing at very few properties right now in Punjab and Sindh. CBFC is headed by government officials whereas provincial boards are headed by private sector appointed by government. Provincial boards had taken huge step by issuing film certificate despite CBFC banning but many cinemas of Punjab and Sindh are still not playing it. Looks like distributor is confused to whether release the film or not, as they might find it tough with CBFC in the censorship of their future releases.
This situation is a complete disaster of censor system of Pakistan and gives out clear indication that this censor system is faulty and shouldn’t be in practice. We talked to various people in film exhibition and distribution, and all were of the view that there is no influence of provincial boards in film censorship and even if they clear a film then too they don’t issue censor certificate unless censor certificate is issued by CBFC first. But with Manmarziyan provincial boards issued the certificate before CBFC and later CBFC banned the film and this has led to a complete chaos as most cinemas are not playing the film. If cinemas are not going to play the film passed by SBFC and PBFC then why are those boards in place? Distributor has to pay a healthy amount of Rupees 1,00,500 for an imported film in PBFC and this is the main reason that many small English films never see their release in Punjab as distributor can’t afford this amount for censorship in PBFC and that’s when PBFC can’t take any independent decision. Furthermore the board members of all censor boards also bring along their guests and distributor also has to pay for the food and refreshments of all the members of the boards and their guests.
Earlier there was only one board i.e. CBFC in place for whole country but with 18th Amendment in 2010 power was given to provincial boards. But those provincial boards have no say at all and whole censor system is still under the influence of CBFC. And in this whole scenario distributor has to pay healthy amounts to all boards separately. Manmarizyan is the current example but same has happened in the past too, as big films like Raees, Dangal and Padmaavat also had major censor issues. This situation is now also horrible for provincial censor boards who had issued censor certificate of Manmarizyan yet film is not playing in many of their cinemas due to influence of CBFC. This whole scenario calls for the action of the current government. We also request the Prime Minister of Pakistan to take notice of the situation that we need to get rid of this disastrous censor system.