Barbie release delay in Pakistan province faces severe criticism: ‘World is progressing, we’re regressing’

Several social media users enraged after hearing news of delay

Peony Hirwani
Monday 24 July 2023 08:11 BST
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Barbie teaser trailer

The release of Greta Gerwig’s much-anticipated film Barbie has reportedly been delayed in a province in Pakistan and the move has come under harsh criticism from the country’s social media users.

According to local reports, the country’s Punjab province has halted the release of the film over “objectionable content”.

“We will review the film before its release in the country,” Farrukh Mahmood, secretary of the Punjab film censor board, told The Guardian. He did not mention any particular scenes in question.

According to officials, the film needed clearance from the provincial boards that censor scenes violating the country’s social, cultural and religious values.

Many people have voiced angry opinions on social media after hearing about the delay.

“The irony in Pakistan: won’t ban hate speech and take concrete action, will not ban forced conversions and marriages, will not ban the exploitation of human lives by the blasphemy laws but will ban a movie called Barbie,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Another person added: “Leave it to the Pakistan government to act like our very own helicopter parents and ban anything that they deem objectionable including A F***ING BARBIE MOVIE.”

One person wrote: “I watched the movie yesterday and there’s no nudity or anything that the morality police would have a problem with.”

“Barbie has been banned in Punjab, Pakistan. Zindagi Tamasha and Joyland were already banned. Any movie that has the potential to question everything around us is banned because we need a homogeneous pool of bigots and fanatics,” said another user.

“No new thoughts or questions raised. Just follow.”

“While the whole world is talking about ‘Barbie’ movie, it has been banned in Punjab, Pakistan for “unacceptable” scenes,” tweeted another user.

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“The whole world is progressing, we are regressing. Why? Because of our insecurities. Our insecure policies let others countries make fun of us.”

(Warner Bros Pictures)

Barbie opened on Friday (21 July), with its opening weekend box office tally across the world looking set to top the $400m (£311m) mark – a rare occurrence reserved for cinematic events.

The film stars Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, who go on a journey of self-discovery following an existential crisis. The film is adapted from the popular Mattel toy franchise.

Find The Independent’s review of Barbie here.

Follow along with the latest updates concerning Barbie and Oppenheimer here.

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