Pakistani rape film ‘Verna’ wins out over censor board after tense battle

Mahira Khan stars in ‘Verna,’ a harrowing movie about a rape survivor’s fight for justice. (Photo courtesy: Hum Films)
Updated 18 November 2017
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Pakistani rape film ‘Verna’ wins out over censor board after tense battle

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) waded into hot water last week due to its decision to halt the release of Shoaib Mansoor’s highly-anticipated film “Verna.” Fans are, however, celebrating as the Information Ministry announced the movie would be released across the country without any cuts in a statement made yesterday.
Starring Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Zarrar Khan and Naimal Khawar, the film is a harrowing look at a rape survivor’s fight for justice against the perpetrator and the justice system itself.
Last week, board sited the rape scene as the reason behind its decision to ban the screening of the movie.
Many Twitter users took issue with the censor board suggesting the film was inappropriate for handling exactly what the subject matter of the film is. Supporters of the director, the stars in it and the film itself have taken to Twitter and began online campaigns to give the board a piece of their mind and insist the film be released.
This film seeks to not only highlight the gut-wrenching road to justice. Mansoor’s previous films “Bol” and “Khuda Ke Liye” also focus on the often unfair way culture, tradition and societal expectations stack up against women, particularly of Pakistan and Pakistani descent.
Central Board of Film Censors Chairman Mubashir Hasan confirmed CBFC passed Verna without any cuts or mutes.
"It is confirmed that film Verna has been declared suitable and fit for public exhibition. CBFC has issued censor certificate to the producer. CBFC has regulatory jurisdiction [over] cinema houses located in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and those located in the cantonment areas across the country," he said, according to Images.


Turkish court acquits rapper arrested over lyrics: CNN Turk

Updated 1 min 57 sec ago
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Turkish court acquits rapper arrested over lyrics: CNN Turk

ISTANBUL: A Turkish rapper who faced 10 years of jail on charges of encouraging drug use in his lyrics was acquitted on Tuesday at the first session of his trial in Istanbul, broadcaster CNN Turk reported.
Sercan Ipekcioglu, 27, better known by his stage name Ezhel, had been detained since last month after a court accepted a prosecutor’s indictment against him over his lyrics and social media posts, it said.
He denied the charges.
Ezhel, whose videos have racked up millions of views online, refers to smoking marijuana in some of his songs. In Turkey, the encouragement of drug use is punishable by law, as is the possession and sale of narcotics.
Dozens of his fans flooded the court house ahead of the trial, CNN Turk said. The hashtag #FreeEzhel was one of the top trending topics on Turkish Twitter.
“After four weeks of pre-trial detention, the judge took just 30 minutes to rule for rapper Ezhel’s release and acquittal,” said Andrew Gardner of Amnesty International, which followed the trial on Monday.
Some 20,000 Turks took part in Amnesty’s campaign for release of the singer, Gardner said.
Amnesty International has campaigned for journalists, singers and rights defenders jailed in Turkey as part of a government crackdown on the right to free expression which accelerated after a failed coup in 2016.