Joyless Punjab.

THE elation was short-lived. When the federal government finally acquiesced to public demands to allow Joyland to be screened in cinemas, the Punjab government eagerly stepped up to play the villain's role. Its stubborn insistence on keeping the film off any screen within its jurisdiction 'in the wake of persistent complaints received from different quarters' is quite a shame. It shows that its priorities lie not in upholding constitutionally granted freedoms of speech and expression but in pandering to the religious orthodoxy. This makes it the second time in the past few months that the Punjab government has sought to make the most of the sometimes irrational fears and apprehensions of the right. First, it intruded into citizens' personal affairs by making unnecessary changes to the nikahnama; now, it has taken it upon itself to decide what the people should and should not watch in cinemas.

Targeted by the ultra-conservative - who very likely have not even seen the film, yet somehow have been scandalised by the story it tells - Joyland had, till Thursday, seemed destined to join other path-breaking...

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