KARACHI: August 12 seems to be a big day for the box office. Multiple high-profile releases have been lined up for the date. While Bollywood films Rustom and Mohenjo Daro have been handed Universal ratings by Pakistani censors, boards seem to be divided over the rating of Suicide Squad.
Mohenjo Daro – which marks the return of director Ashutosh Gowariker with yet another period drama – depicts the era of the ancient Indus Valley civilisation. The film is surely set to attract audiences in Pakistan due to its familiarity factor, especially with a superstar like Hrithik Roshan attached to it.
Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chairman Mobashir Hasan assured that the film has not received any major censorship.
“There is only some minor cutting of some kissing scenes. Apart from that, it was good to go.” Hasan also explained that when it comes to historical epics, the board has a provision to bring in co-opt members, apart from the usual five-member panel. “We brought in Syed Waqar Ali Shah, who is the chairperson of the history department at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, along with Mashood Mirza from the department of archaeology and museums. We, along with the panel, did not have any objections towards the film and it’s ready to hit the screens.”
Rustom, on the other hand, depicts the story of an Indian naval officer and his wife who has an affair with another man while the husband is on duty. The film stars Akshay Kumar, Esha Gupta and Ileana D’Cruz in lead roles and has created great hype across the border, with many Bollywood stars supporting it.
Tweets from actors such as Salman Khan, Ranveer Singh, Karan Johar, Sonakshi Sinha, Arjun Kapoor, Siddhartha Malhotra and even Hrithik Roshan himself, have been praising the film, urging the audience to watch it. On top of that, Pakistani censor boards have given the film a clean pass, increasing its chances of success. Hasan said, “Rustom has been passed by majority of members with excisions and rated Universal.”
The Punjab Board of Film Certification has also given a Universal rating to all three films – even Suicide Squad. What is interesting is that while Rustom and Mohenjo Daro have received unanimous universal ratings across Pakistan, there is still some difference of opinion over Suicide Squad.
On one hand, the Punjab censor board has issued the superhero film the green light, on the other; CBFC has given it an Adult rating. Despite repeated attempts, officials from the Sindh Board of Film Censors were not available for comment.
With CBFC no longer the unanimous body that decides the fate of the films, opinion is bound to be conflicting. Commenting on Suicide Squad’s certification, Hasan added, “It has been issued an Adult rating. It was a unanimous and collective decision by the board members.”
Suicide Squad, directed by David Ayer, stars an ensemble cast of Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Cara Delavigne and Jai Courtney. It tells the story of the dangerous super-villain team of Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and other DC comics characters to fight a mysterious and powerful entity while the diabolical Joker – played by Jared Leto – unleashes an evil agenda of his own.