Pakistani actress unhappy over delay in release of Happy Bhag Jayegi 

Momal Sheikh is upset that the Pakistani CBFC still hasn’t cleared her Indian film for theatrical release.

Momal Sheikh (Photo: Shutterbugs Images)

Mayur Lookhar

The latest addition to the list of Pakistani artists finding work in India, Momal Sheikh, is a bit upset with the Pakistani CBFC (Central Board of Film Censors) for not clearing her maiden Indian film Happy Bhag Jayegi yet for theatrical release in Pakistan. Sheikh made her Hindi film debut with Happy Bhag Jayegi, that released in India on 19 August.

“A decision is still pending, so I’m just waiting for their response. It was a big day for me with a lot of mixed feelings; I’m excited yet nervous as it is my [Bollywood] debut film. I usually don’t complain nor do I (harbour) any negative (feelings), but this incident has really upset me,” Sheikh told Pakistani daily The Dawn.

After watching the film, the Pakistani CBFC could not arrive at a consensus with difference of opinion among its members.

Sheikh, who is the daughter of seasoned Pakistani actor Javed Sheikh, felt there was nothing untoward shown in the film. “I’ve yet to watch the whole movie myself, so I’m personally not even aware of half of the scenes, but from what I’ve seen and gathered, they have definitely shown a positive side of Pakistan, where they are working on helping Indian women,” she said.

Indian films have never had a smooth access in Pakistan, especially those which are percieved as projecting their country in bad light. Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger (2012), Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod (2012), Akshay Kumar’s Baby (2015 are among the host of Indian films that have been banned in Pakistan. Not too long ago, director Kabir Khan was heckled at Karachi airport by publicity-hungry activists who slammed the director for allegedly making anti-Pakistan and anti-Muslim films.

Happy Bhag Jayegi is a light-hearted cross border love story where the protagonist Harpreet (Diana Penty) is a runaway-bride who accidentally flees to Pakistan. Sheikh plays Zoya, the fiancé of Bilal Ahmed (Abhay Deol).