A film on the search for Osama bin Laden and his subsequent capture.

Pakistani film distributors took the easy way out with the Hollywood flick Zero Dark Thirty that chronicles the search for the world’s most wanted, Osama bin Laden, and the stealth operation in Abbottabad that killed him on May 2, 2011.

Wiser by past experience trying to release films on “sensitive” topics — particularly those with references to the military and spooks from the Inter Services Intelligence — distributors have this time round decided against even trying to bring the film to Pakistan's big screen. However, the film is available on the DVD circuit — essentially copies that can be picked up for PKR 100 a pop.

The torture scenes apart, the one thing that stands out for any Pakistani who has seen the film is evident lack of homework in terms of understanding the country where much of the story is set. Nowhere in Pakistan is Arabic spoken but the film has people speaking that language in Abbottabad.

For Pakistanis watching the film together, the two-and-some hours doubled up as a guessing game on where a particular shot was taken as many of the cities depicted did not exactly look like the urban spaces they claimed to project. Still, the DVDs are moving off the racks across cities as the film remains a talking point; more so with Oscar nominations in its kitty.

ANITA JOSHUA