It's art, not activism or a call to action, says Malala about film Joyland.

The ban on film Joyland may be getting reversed but it is important to understand why the ban was uncalled for in the first place. In her piece for Variety, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai talks about how the film is a piece of art, not an argument for or against something. It is a love letter to Pakistan, a mirror for Pakistani people discussing the yearning for freedom and the damage the patriarchy causes, among other things.

'Joyland is not activism posing as art,' she wrote. 'It doesn't argue for a particular point of view or issue a call to action. The film treats each character with compassion, from the ageing grandfather imposing his will on his family to the young wife who wants more than the men around her are willing to give.' She described it as a film that is about the ways in which patriarchy hurts everyone - men, women and children. Shedding light on underrated things like 'the healing powers of female friendship and solidarity', the film also weighs the cost of prioritising people's opinions over one's dreams.

She talked about how the movie celebrates Pakistani culture - its food, fashion and most of all, its people. In an ironic turn of events, it is being branded as something immoral that 'portrays a negative image of our country'. In reality, the film is reflective of the Pakistani people, their desire for freedom and fulfilment and their way of finding joy in the little things every day.

The education activist said we expect art to serve as a means for public relations - we use it to rectify the negative image that the world has us of us. The content that flies in Pakistan is 'stories that cast ourselves as unequivocal heroes' which reduces the storyline to men as saviours who defeat their enemies and women as sappy lovers who don't care about much else. 'A numbness sets in as we collectively decide we...

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