"It has to be the film. The theme [Aiyaary] is very patriotic and doesn’t cut well there."
After plenty of anticipation, Sidharth Malhotra’s dramatic new film Aiyaary releases on 16th February 2018. However, fans will be unable to watch it in Pakistani cinemas.
The country decided to ban the film, but with no official reason provided. Satish Anand, who would have distributed it in Pakistan, confirmed the news, saying:
“The film is banned. Its content was disapproved.” Reports have suggested that the country’s certificate board may have disapproved the movie’s patriotic themes.
Aiyaary features characters from the Indian Army, with the Bollywood heartthrob playing Major Jai Bakshi. As the soldier has a falling out with his mentor (Manoj Bajpayee), the story turns into a riveting, political thriller.
Directed by Neeraj Pandey, it marks as his latest film to face a ban in Pakistan, following the likes of Baby (2015) and Naam Shabana (2016). He spoke to Deccan Chronicle about the ban, saying:
“I don’t think I am a problem. It has to be the film. The theme [Aiyaary] is very patriotic and doesn’t cut well there. Even MS Dhoni was not allowed to be shown in Pakistan.”
The director also seemed to be unfazed by the decision and revealed:
“This time, I had told my team to not even try for a release in Pakistan. But then, we had the luxury of time, due to the frequent postponement of the film. We had strong queries (demand for the film) from Pakistan, but I knew that I will not get released here.”
The movie has experienced some issues with its release in the past. Producers originally planned for it to hit cinemas on 25th January 2018. However, it nearly faced a triple clash with Padmaavat and Padman.
In order to avoid this, the film was moved to 9th February. However, Padman also rescheduled its release date – to the same day! Aiyaary also faced problems with the Ministry of Defence, who wanted to clear it.
After a special screening, the Ministry requested a few changes and eventually cleared it on 6th February 2018. But with Pakistan’s ban, it signals a new obstacle to the film’s release in the country.
However, it’s not the only recent film given a ban. Padman has also been prohibited from Pakistani cinemas – but the board gave a reason for their decision. They believed it threatened culture as it explored a “taboo” subject.
This, of course, prompted a huge outcry from both Pakistan and Bollywood, with many voicing their thoughts. Recently, Twinkle Khanna said of the ban:
“I think women menstruate no matter where you put a boundary, a border. We menstruate this side. We menstruate that side, and it is important for them to see it [Padman] as well. I wish that they’d change their mind and show the movie.”
Aiyaary‘s ban hasn’t prompted the same reaction as of yet. However, it does highlight the struggle Bollywood films face in gaining clearance in Pakistan.
It seems then Sidharth Malhotra’s fans in the country sadly won’t get the chance to see his new film so soon.