The Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights has given the green signal to Sarmad Khoosat’s film Zindagi Tamasha and has allowed it to be screened post-COVID-19. The film had stirred up controversy for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.
Chairperson of the committee and PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar made the announcement on social media and said that the committee found nothing wrong with the film. He said that the film can be screened when cinema halls open post-COVID.
While detailed reasoning on the committee’s decision is awaited, Senator Khokhar while speaking to The Current said: “It was a unanimous decision by all Senators of the Human Rights Committee who watched the movie together in Senate’s committee room. Nobody thought there was anything wrong with it. Waleed Iqbal from PTI was also one of the senators who watched it, even though he wasn’t part of the Human Rights Committee.”
He added: “It’s a very good movie, I was touched by it; was beautifully shot. I would recommend that everyone should watch it once it’s released.”
Zindagi Tamasha, which was scheduled to hit screens on January 25, was stopped from being released days before its release after the federal and provincial governments feared public unrest.
While the Federal Government had said that the film will be reviewed by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), the Punjab Government had directed the filmmaker to hold a screening on February 3 so that the film can be reviewed again. However, no screening has taken place to date. It is pertinent to mention here that the provincial and central censor boards had earlier cleared the film for release with a few cuts.
Sarmad had also appealed to the Prime Minister, President, Chief of Army Staff and the Chief Justice of Pakistan to facilitate the release of the film.
Senator Khokhar on March 11 had announced that the HR Committee had taken notice of the ban on the film.
Written by Nirmal Bano and directed by Khoosat, Zindagi Tamasha starres Arif Hassan, Samiya Mumtaz, Eman Suleman and Ali Qureshi in the lead. The film is centred around a naat khwan Rahat Khawaja (played by Hassan) and his family who are outcast from the society when a secret of Khawaja’s is leaked.
The official synopsis states: “The film is an intimate portrait of a family as well as a scorching political commentary on little gods on this earth who police our private passions.”
The film premiered at the Busan International Film Festival held in October 2019 where it also won the prestigious Kim Ji Seok Award.