Shah Rukh Khan’s latest film, Raees, will not release in Pakistan, with the country’s censor board saying its content “undermines Islam” and portrays Muslims as “criminals, wanted persons and terrorists”. “The recommendations forwarded by the Central Board of Film Censors panel deemed the film unsuitable for public screening,” an official from the body told The Express Tribune.
“We could not issue a certificate because the film portrays Islam and a particular Muslim sect in negative light,” the censor board official told the daily. The decision to not release the movie, which also marks Pakistani actor Mahira Khan’s Bollywood debut, comes even as some entertainment companies in the country lift their ban on screening Indian films. Last week, an official handout issued by the country’s information ministry said the Pakistani government was “pleased to continue the existing open policy to display all international movies (including Indian films) in Pakistani cinemas”.
The production and release of the film was thrown into controversy, with right-wing groups in India protesting against Mahira Khan’s involvement following a militant attack on an Indian Army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri in September 2016. Several political outfits and parties including the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have demanded that all Indian film producers stop casting Pakistanis in their projects. In September, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association passed a resolution to “ban” Pakistani actors and technicians from shooting in India till the return of “normalcy” in relations between the two countries.