BY ALI NAQVI –
Let’s face it. Let’s admit that there is no freedom of speech or freedom of expression in our country. A daring film like Durj is banned by the Censor Board on the grounds that its theme is about cannibalism. It’s not only unfortunate but also a breach of freedom of expression which is one of the basic human rights.
What’s the point of having a Censor Board? It is hard to imagine the words freedom and censorship together. In the age of internet, ideas like censorship smell of fascism. In developed countries films are not censored they are rated to guide the audience as to which content might or might not be suitable for them.
We are a society filled with hypocrisies and deceitful dichotomies but the worst part of it all is that anyone who tries to tell us what’s wrong with us is snubbed and persecuted. We also suffer from superiority complex. We are the best nation of the world. This ailment has reached narcissistic proportions. The more we sink deeper in the quagmire of narcissism the more we hunger after respect and admiration from the rest of the world.
Durj, if released and it should, would be the directorial debut of Shamoon Abbasi. The actor turned director has put all his energies into producing Durj that is stopped short of making it to the silver screen.
Based on the actual cannibalistic incidents, the movie addresses an important social issue. We should consider ourselves lucky to have filmmakers like him who could pull out something meaningful for the cinema goers. Laal Kabootar and Sarmad Khoosat’s Zindagi Tamasha are recent examples of meaningful filmmaking in Pakistan.
Durj may or may not be a good movie as far as screenplay, acting, editing and direction is concerned but the movie deserves to come out to the big screen. To stop Durj from screening is to discourage filmmakers to invest their time, effort and money. It will eventually have a very negative impact on the film industry as a whole.
Isn’t it the irony that we are not ready to confront the cannibalism in a movie when the sad reality is that majority of us have blood on our hands. People die every day due to negligence of doctors, fake drugs, target killings, police encounters, honor killings, domestic violence, suicides, murders etc. and one way or the other we become the piece that fits the puzzle.
When you don’t face your fears they become monsters, it’s only when you look them in the eye that they appear to be a mere shadow of your own existence. There is no point of having a Censor Board that curbs the freedom of expression. We need Durj and the movies of such magnitude to keep our cinemas alive and breathing.