Pakistani cinema is finally heading in the right direction in 2022. Our filmmakers are ultimately realizing that audiences are getting smarter and now demand quality story-based content. Of course, there are still the typical rom-com Pakistani films being made on a mass basis. But at this point, the majority of people are absolutely done with cheap item numbers and cliched plots. This year, Pakistani movie fans got blessed with Sarmad Khoosat’s excellent character drama, Kamli. That was followed by Bilal Lashari’s epic blockbuster, The Legend of Maula Jatt. Unfortunately, not every Pakistani film had a smooth release, which brings us to the controversial Joyland ban.
Major critics from all over the globe have greatly appreciated Joyland. The film received a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Additionally, it is being submitted for the Best International Feature Film award at the 95th Academy Awards.
So why do so many Pakistanis hate Joyland and want it to never get released? Is the Joyland ban justified, or are people overreacting? We at Sound Crush have watched the divisive film and feel like an unbiased discussion needs to happen.
Joyland’s Themes: Assumption vs. Reality
What is more appalling is that people calling for the Joyland ban are doing it based on assumptions. They’ve watched the trailer and read the synopsis, only to assume that the film glorifies or supports the controversial relationship. Many Pakistanis think that Joyland is trying to normalize or promote LGBTQ+ aspects in our society. In fact, there are now hundreds of analysis posts out there, with suppositions being their driving force.
“The film encourages everything Islam stands against!” is the central argument. We’re here to tell you that the reality is quite different. Even though Joyland’s main plot revolves around an unconventional relationship, its themes go beyond just that. The film is about human desires, breaking free of constraints, and the dire consequences of one’s actions. It never once highlights any positive aspects of the unnatural relationship that many people are so disgusted by.
Actually, it shows how one has to follow a certain set of social and religious rules to survive in life. You can’t just do whatever you please without affecting others around you. Sometimes, the results of your actions are horrible on the worst level imaginable. And that is what Joyland portrays so well. It’s not just about a gay relationship that our society is so disturbed by.
Joyland is about how various members of a patriarchal family react to their predicament in different ways. In addition, it also shows the daily struggles of a trans person in Pakistan. The people that we call “khusra” so easily have to put in way more effort than us to navigate life. They are hurting and feel like negligible parts of our society. Hence, the Joyland ban feels pointless when it highlights such deeply important issues.
Is the Joyland Ban Justified?
We feel like the Joyland ban is completely unjustified. This is because most of the people criticizing it haven’t even given it a chance yet. In all honesty, nothing in this film promotes or glorifies anything against the teachings of Islam. Watching the movie first and then criticizing it for its quality or subject matter makes more sense. But when one doesn’t even know what the exact content of a film is, any criticism becomes null and void. It just comes off as senseless, uninformed ignorance.
The viral hashtags about the Joyland ban are just creating more curiosity in people’s minds. In fact, the issues raised and portrayed in the film are based on our real society. Our people are just overreacting prematurely because they are not ready to have important conversations. Portrayal of the real horrors of society in movies terrifies them. Actually, Islam has nothing to do with it. Islam permits conversations about sensitive topics and teaches about the consequences of actions itself. People are just afraid to see their reflections on the big screen.
Furthermore, Joyland got more hype than it deserved because of the premature hatred and controversies. The people who didn’t even care for it are now curious to see why the Joyland ban is trending. We would suggest watching the film first and judging it for yourself. Because then you’ll see how there literally isn’t anything in it that preaches against Islam.
You’ll just end up being immersed in a drama about a family dealing with individual issues. You’ll also start respecting everyone around you, no matter what demographic they belong to. And you’ll realize just how much depravity is taking place in your own society. The hate propaganda against Joyland is totally uncalled for, and we’re sure you’ll agree after watching it.