Tere Bin censored

Ali Zafar’s new film may not see an official release in Pakistan.

Ali Zafar’s new movie Tere Bin [Laden], which was released on July 16, is not releasing in Pakistan. Thank you very much, film censor board. I was really looking forward to the film so naturally I am disappointed with this decision. But I am not surprised at all. In a country where we have collective “morality” but unfortunately no collective “identity”, a film with a name such as this cannot be screened in public.
Also, when the makers announced that the film would release as Tere Bin in Pakistan, I had pretty much started to console myself that I will have to content myself with a pirated version of it. Long live, piracy!
The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind after a decision like this is about the amazingly intolerant society we live in. But I think, as a society, tolerance is not the only thing we are lacking — it seems we also lack a sense of humour. And the banning of this film just makes that clearer. The film, originally publicised as Tere Bin Laden, is a tongue-in-cheek comedy about a young reporter from Pakistan who tries to fake an interview with Osama bin Laden for quick riches and success.
I can think of at least one Pakistani journalist who shot to fame riding on a conspiracy like this – although, he was not so young when he tried his luck so he did, indeed, have little time to make it big. Hence, the film has more relevance to Pakistan than many others that have gone on to play in cinemas.
At a time when a provincial assembly passes an anti-media resolution and a known politician claims that Pakistan is in the situation it is in because of the 3 Js “judiciary, jurnails and journalists”, a criticism like the one presented in this movie hits home. There must be something that the media is doing which is causing people to react against it — this strongly.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2010.

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