Pakistan’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) lifted the ban on film ”Verna” on 16 November 2017, one day before its scheduled opening, reported International Business Times.
The film was originally reportedly banned for scenes of violence and rape, and in the case of the censor board of Punjab, the portrayal of “government institutions in an undesirable manned”, reported Samaa TV.
The film was released in Punjab on 18 November after film director agreed to make minor cuts, reported Asia Times.
Both the ban and its subsequent lifting saw an outburst on social media.
“The medium of art is to express different aspects of the human experience, so why try to stifle [it]?” Mansoor told The Guardian. “The industry is finally coming into its own, so it’s important for this film to be seen, because if it can change even the mindset of one person, this can be enough to start a change in society.”
Her film is a revenge thriller of a woman, played by popular actress Mahira Khan, who is abducted and raped by the son of a governor and takes matters into her own hands after the justice system fails her. The film is one of a growing number of films in Pakistan that are led by female narratives, spotlighting issues women face in the country.
Freemuse, in collaboration with Shirkat Gah, Pakistan’s leading women’s rights organisation, submitted a joint stakeholder report ahead of Pakistan’s third cycle Universal Periodic Review – the UN system’s official mechanism for reviewing all member states’ human rights records – outlining nine recommendations for how to improve the situation for artists and audiences, including women and transgender artists, who face threats from state and non-state actors that limit their right to artistic freedom of expression.