Finally, on Tuesday, the Punjab Film Censor Board has given the go-ahead to the screening of the fantasy-comedy film ‘Barbie’ in the province, more than 10 days after its release in Pakistan.
Earlier, Punjab Information Secretary Ali Nawaz Malik had stated that the caretaker government in the province decided to stop the screening in response to public complaints.
In a recent development, Punjab’s interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi instructed the censor board to make a decision regarding the exhibition of the Hollywood film, and subsequently, a meeting of the full censor board was convened to review the movie.
Following the review, the censor board approved the film’s screening in Punjab, and an official statement was issued from the Chief Minister’s office confirming the decision.
Directed by Greta Gerwig, ‘Barbie’ stars Margot Robbie as the iconic doll and Ryan Gosling as her boyfriend Ken. The movie had faced censorship challenges not only in Pakistan but also in Vietnam, where it was previously banned due to scenes depicting China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
This is not the first time Pakistan has faced controversies surrounding film censorship. In a previous incident, ‘Joyland,’ a Cannes prize-winning film and Pakistan’s entry for the 2023 Oscars, was banned by the government for being considered “clearly repugnant to the norms of decency and morality” in the country. Although the film was later cleared by the national censor board after a government-ordered review, it remained banned in Punjab.
Similarly, in 2019, the film ‘Zindagi Tamasha’ was banned after its director faced accusations of blasphemy from a far-right religious party due to the movie’s portrayal of a religious man.