Author: Suleman Ahmad (the author is a student of media and politics at the University of Malakand)

Some extremist groups and mobs of people are criticising cinema especially bold movies like Zindagi Tamasha.
These dramas and movies remind me of Manto’s words “if u can’t bear my words, my stories then this society is unbearable. It’s not my duty to dress up this society which is already naked. It’s duty of the dresser to dress up society”.

The government is already facing significant problems of foreign policy, internal instability and economic challenges. So the government in order to avoid coming directly under fire, passed the buck by referring reservations of some sectarian groups to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) which is totally mockery of artistic work in my opinion.

Because the CII is not meant for looking into films and dramas. The CII is a constitutional body which is for the sake for helping the government on legislation in line with the “Islamic values”. If the censor board cleared it then the government should provide thier support to filmmaker Sarmad Khoosat who is the director and the producer of Zindagi Tamasha. His fear is real because he’s been receiving threats from extremists.

Our cinema is marred in extremism because in our country religion dominates every aspect of life and clerics regularly instigate people against arts and culture and they denounce the art and artists while sitting on the esteemed chair of surmons especially during Friday prayer congregations. But I have one question? If they don’t like the cinema and films how do they know a whole lot about actors, movies and themes and the songs? It means they also watch pop culture but are wearing the hypocritical front of piousness in front of people. I personally know some clerics who used social media and watched everything which even we don’t. So my point here is we should promote our cinema because cinema promotes the country and culture and in this era of media hegemony we must promote our culture, values, norms and rituals through cinematography and by making good films. Showbiz plays a key role in soft power as well which should be used by the government to carried out diplomacy.

If we have to provide entertainment and infotainment and educate our society through cinema, then the government must combat sectarianism, extremism and provide support to the showbiz industry.

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