After penning an open letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan and other authorities, Sarmad Khoosat has written another letter to his fellow citizens and Pakistan.
The filmmaker whose upcoming movie Zindagi Tamasha is facing all sorts of criticisms prior to its release that is due on 24th January, took to Twitter to share his concerns following dozens of threatening phone calls and messages. Unfortunately, the matters have taken such a turn that the director is considering to withdraw his film.
Getting dozens of threatening phone calls and msgs. Should I withdraw Zindagi Tamasha? pic.twitter.com/OJB396B1xq
— Sarmad Khoosat (@KhoosatSarmad) January 19, 2020
“I did not make Zindagi Tamasha to hurt, offend or malign anyone,” he began.
“It’s a story about a ‘good enough Muslim’ – there was/is no mention of a sect, party or faction of any sort. Neither in the uncensored version nor the censored one. If a bearded man is to be generically called a molvi, then trust me, this is/was a film about a good molvi. An empathetic and heartfelt story of a bearded an who is so much more than just that. He is a human being portrayed through a very humane eye,” he wrote.
“As an artist, the last thing I’d ever want to achieve through my artistic expression is anarchy or hatred. No! That’s not what an artist does. Or at least I don’t,” Sarmad added.
He also explained how a very close friend advised him to can the film and move on. Sarmad thinks it is easier said than done after spending two years of his life and savings on a project.
“I don’t want anyone to have the pleasure of banning my film because legally, officially and morally, no one can… As a good, responsible citizen, I do not want my cities’ roads being blocked, people’s businesses and everyday routines disrupted or any other form of unneccesary trouble and chaos in the name of ‘just a film’,” he wrote.
The fate of Zindagi Tamasha, which has been cleared by all three censor boards after multiple viewings, is still in doldrums.
“The only censor cuts on the original version were some slang and colloquial words expressing anger. It never had any other ‘objectionable’ content,” he wrote while concluding the four page letter on: “Shall I release my film under these conditions? I think I must not.”
Sarmad also shared screenshots of one of the many hate messages he has been receiving:
Following his letters, many celebrities from the fraternity have extended their support including Eman Suleman who’s also an actor in the film, Mahira Khan, Humayun Saeed, Mira Sethi and Sanam Saeed amongst others.
I’m sorry you might not be able watch this, which is a tragedy because this film was made for Pakistan. https://t.co/sb3JAcpOLR
— Eman Suleman (@eman_anjum) January 19, 2020
Time and again we are made to realise our power and our influence. A film ( that people haven’t seen) can make some this scared.
Mushkil ko bata ke tera Allah kitna bara hai @KhoosatSarmad https://t.co/AGVeTl8Dfh
— Mahira Khan (@TheMahiraKhan) January 19, 2020
The government must address this at the earliest. Filmmaking in Pakistan is already a tough challenge; those who dare to venture into it need to be encouraged and appreciated https://t.co/H2ZP1Wjd8H
— Humayun Saeed (@iamhumayunsaeed) January 18, 2020
The official censor board has cleared this film.
The unofficial censor board – the one that wields street power – is threatening Sarmad Khoosat and his team.
Deeply disturbing and problematic. https://t.co/m6hac9qKOC
— Mira Sethi (@sethimirajee) January 19, 2020
All this effort to ban thought provoking stories despite censor boards giving it the go ahead, despite it being edited time and time again to appease sensitive sensibilities of a certain few, why? https://t.co/WvsJySGDFC
— Sanam Saeed (@sanammodysaeed) January 20, 2020