(LAHORE) The release of the Barbie movie has been delayed in Pakistan’s Punjab province, due to its “shocking content”, authorities said on Friday.

In Pakistan, films must be given the green light by censorship offices, which ban any passages they consider contrary to the social and cultural values ​​of the country.

“A full review of the film is going to take place, and it will be censored where we deem it necessary,” Farrukh Mahmood, secretary of the Film Censorship Bureau of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous region, told AFP.

The comedy, starring Hollywood stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as iconic Barbie doll and her boyfriend Ken, will be available for theatrical release when that review and censorship process is complete, he added.

The bureau did not specify which passages it considered “offensive” or for what reasons.

On the other hand, the film was due to be released on Friday in the capital Islamabad and the province of Sindh (south), where it received the green light from the local censorship offices.

“I’ve been waiting to see Barbie for months. It makes no sense that it can be broadcast in Karachi or Islamabad, but not in Lahore,” said Nousheen Saad, a resident of Lahore, the capital of Punjab.

In November, the film Joyland, awarded at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and selected to represent Pakistan at the 2023 Oscars, was banned by the Pakistani government, which deemed it contrary to “standards of decency and morality”, under pressure from Islamist parties.

The film, which depicts a married man’s relationship with a transgender woman, was eventually cleared by the National Censorship Board, after the government ordered it to re-examine the matter. But the ban had been upheld in Punjab.

In 2019, the film Zindagi Tamasha, which portrays a religious man caught dancing at a wedding, was banned and its director accused of blasphemy by a far-right religious party.