Islamabad, Mar 20: Pakistan's censor board has banned Bollywood film “Agent Vinod”, which was due to be released this Friday, as the movie contains references to the ISI that could hurt the sentiments of Pakistani people.
A statement from IMGC Global, the Pakistani distributor of the film, confirmed that the movie had been “banned by the censor board of Pakistan”.
A spokesperson for the Karachi-based Atrium Cinemas chain too confirmed that the movie would not be released on March 23 as it had been held up by the censors.
There was no official word from the board but sources told PTI that the film, which centres round the exploits of an Indian spy played by Saif Ali Khan, was banned as it contained references to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) “that could hurt the sentiments of people in Pakistan”.
Leading newspapers had carried advertisements over the past few days regarding the release of “Agent Vinod” in cinemas across Pakistan on March 23.
However, cineplexes in cities like Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi stopped sales of tickets for the film today after learning that it had not been cleared by censors.
The statement issued by IMGC Global quoted the firm's chairman, Amjad Rashid, as saying that “Agent Vinod” had been banned “due to the contents of the movie”.
Rashid said he had told film producers to “restrict...involving characters of countries and religions”.
“These factors cannot be compromised at any cost,” Rashid said. Entertainment should facilitate the peace process between India and Pakistan and not disturb it, he said.