‘Raees’ banned in Pakistan for portraying Muslims in bad light

Pakistani fans of Shah Rukh Khan and Mahira Khan were left disappointed after the country’s censor board banned screening of ‘Raees’. Reportedly, the screening was stopped as the movie portrays Muslims in a bad light.

‘Raees’ was supposed to hit screens in on February 5, but the Central Board of Film Censors, Pakistan, deemed it inappropriate for screening because its content undermines Islam and a specific religious sect. It also portrays Muslims as criminals, wanted men and gangsters. Shah Rukh, who is also a co-producer of the film, plays a Muslim gangster in the film named Raees Alam.

The film’s director Rahul Dholakia reacted over the decision and tweeted, “#raeesbanned in Pakistan ??? Outraged !! Dumbfounded!!”

He claimed that people across all communities are loving the film, as indicated by its box office collection both in India and overseas, including in Muslim-dominated countries like the UAE, Oman and Bahrain. "I think this ban will lead to rampant piracy since people across the border will definitely watch it," Mid-day quoted Rahul as saying.

In December last year after the trailer of the film was released, certain sections of the Shia community in India had also objected to a sequence in the trailer. There was a chase scene in which Shah Rukh’s character was seen jumping over a Muharram procession carrying alam mubarak (religious flag), which according to Shia theology is considered as disrespect. The issue was, however, resolved mutually and did not become a hurdle in its release.

After Pakistan lifted the two-month long ban on import of Bollywood films, Hrithik Roshan’s ‘Kaabil’ was screened on February 3 and it has fared well. But the banned ‘Raees’ on Sunday, a day before its scgeduled screening in the country.

‘Raees’ marks the Bollywood debut of Pakistani actress Mahira Khan.