Pakistan's decision to ban Dishoom on the grounds of showing the country in a bad light saw a disheartened Varun Dhawan tweeting, “Really upset that #Dishoom is banned in Pakistan. I don’t think the film eventually shows any country in a bad light. It’s a wrong decision.”
Dishoom, which released on July 29, revolves around the story of an Indian cricketer who gets kidnapped minutes before a match between India and Pakistan. The release of the trailer itself had led to speculations on the film's fate in Pakistan.
Right or wrong, it is not unprecedented for Pakistan to ban Indian films for a wide variety of reasons. In the past seven years, Pakistan has banned at least one Hindi film every year. Here's a quick look at some of the Indian films that did not see the light of day in Pakistan.
1: Neerja (2016)
Sonam Kapoor-starrer Neerja, based on the life and death of Neerja Bhanot, a flight attendant on board Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked at the Karachi airport in 1986. She was shot dead by the terrorists while trying to save the lives of passengers. As a rare case, the was film was banned without even involving the country's censor boards.
2: Phantom (2015)
For a change, it was not Pakistan film censor board but Lahore High Court that banned the release of Saif Ali Khan-starrer Phantom in the country. The court ordered the ban after JuD chief and Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed filed a plea against it alleging that the film was a propaganda against him and his outfit. Based on the crime novel Mumbai Avengers by Hussain Zaidi, Phantom revolves around the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
3: Haider (2014)
After adapting Macbeth and Othello as Maqbool and Omkara respectively, Vishal Bharadwaj completed his Shakespearean trilogy with Haider, an adaptation of Hamlet, set amid the violence and militancy in the Kashmir of 1990s. Although the film received positive response in India, Pakistan's film censor board shot it down because of the 'controversial' Kashmir issue.
4: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)
The story of 'Flying Sikh of India' could be an inspiration for many, but the cinematic representation starring Farhan Akhtar did not go well with Pakistan's censor board which claimed that the film, while tracing back to India-Pakistan partition, showed the country in poor light. Besides, the dialogue where Akhtar, portraying Milkha, says, “Mujhse nahin hoga. Main Pakistan nahin jaaunga” posed a problem in the film acceptance in Pakistan.
5: Ranjhaana (2013)
Surprised? Well, it is true. Ranjhaana was banned in Pakistan for its alleged controversial theme. According to Pakistan's film censor board, Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor-starrer portrayed an inapt image of a Muslim girl falling in love with two Hindu men and having affairs with them.
6: Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)
Pakistan banned Yash Chopra's last film, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hai Jaan probably because it showed Khan as Indian Army's bomb disposal squad member who is part of an army operation in Kashmir. As per media reports, even the trailers of the film were stopped from being screened on television channels.
7: Ek Tha Tiger (2012)
According to Pakistan censor board, Salman Khan-starrer Ek Tha Tiger was banned for touching upon the theme of anti-terrorism and for its reference to the country's security agencies. In the film, the leading lady Katrina Kaif plays the role of a Pakistani spy who falls in love with a Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) agent, played by Khan.
8: Agent Vinod (2012)
Just before Ek Tha Tiger failed to make its presence felt in, Saif Ali Khan's Agent Vinod was banned in the country due to the same reason. Well, almost. Trending on the lines of Bond films, Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan) is a suave RAW agent on a mission and Pakistan's intelligence agencies are supporters of Taliban. Still wondering why it was banned in Pakistan?
9: Khiladi 786 (2012)
Did Shakespeare say, 'What's in a name?” Ask the makers of Khiladi 786, whose film was banned in Pakistan for using the number '786' in the name of the film. The Akshay Kumar-starrer was banned on the grounds of the religious significance of the number 786 among Muslims and using it to name a comedy film could hurt public sentiments.
10: The Dirty Picture (2011)
It seems an 'A' rating in India in itself is a reason good enough for Pakistan censor board to say 'no' to a film. Pakistan banned Vidya Balan-starrer The Dirty Picture because of its ‘subject matter and bold scenes.’ Balan portrays Indian sex siren Silk Smitha in the film.
11: Tere Bin Laden (2010)
Osama Bin Laden is no laughing matter. Pakistan made it clear when it banned Bollywood satire film Tere Bin Laden, depicting the character of Laden in a comic way, warning that it could trigger a terrorist attack. The country's film board said that the film was unsuitable for public exhibition as it contained vulgar language. The board also disapproved of the way the film portrayed the country's law enforcing agencies.