Pakistani director Shoaib Mansoor’s latest film Verna, the story of a rape survivor’s quest for justice that stars Mahira Khan, has not been cleared by the country’s Central Board of Film Certification, reported Dawn. The movie was scheduled to be released on Friday. The reason behind the ban is unclear, the report said.
“We are looking into the ‘unanimous objections’ raised by a panel of CBFC on Verna after the preview under the relevant laws,” the board’s chairman, Mobashir Hasan, told the newspaper. Hasan said the Board will review the decision if the movie team files an appeal within 15 days.
However, according to a report in the Express Tribune, the Sindh Board of Film Censors General Secretary Abdul Razzaq Khuhawar had hinted at the possible reason for the controversy over the movie. “The topic is rape, and the culprit is the governor’s son,” he was quoted as saying. “The film doesn’t have to be banned, and can be tweaked and censored a bit to be deemed fit for release.”
The movie stars Mahira Khan, who starred with Shah Rukh Khan in Raees (2017), Haroon Shahid as her husband, and Zarrar Khan. In an interview with Dawn, Mahira Khan had described Verna as “the story of a woman who decides to make the men who have wronged her pay for what they have done”.
Verna is Mansoor’s third feature after Khuda Ke Liye and Bol. On Tuesday, Mansoor issued a press statement appealing to the censor board for “urgent relief for Verna”.