New Delhi (Sputnik) — Padman, an Indian film that has, to a large extent, succeeded in disassociating shame and menstruation, has failed to get the Pakistan censor board's approval.
"We can't allow our film distributors to import films which are against our traditions and culture," Pakistani Federal Censor Board member Ishaq Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Pakistani media.
The decision to issue an NOC by the Ministry of Information Broadcasting National History and Literary Heritage is yet to be taken on the release of a foreign feature film "Padman" as the film has not yet been pre-viewed by the Central Board of Film Censors. pic.twitter.com/NExGsWGV8M— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) February 11, 2018
Ironically, the film is based on the life of a man's struggle to fight the taboo associated with menstruation and sanitary pads in Indian society. Akshay Kumar plays Arunachalam Muruganantham, from south India who is credited with revolutionizing sanitary pad manufacturing by innovating cheaper machinery. The film also stars Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor as female leads.
The Pakistan government's move encountered a volley of sharp criticism from social media users, especially women.
Pakistan bans Padman.— Sonam Mahajan (@AsYouNotWish) February 10, 2018
The Censor Board says, “the film deals with taboos such as menstruation which are against our traditions & culture thus can’t be released in Pakistan.”
Menstruating is against the culture? Basically, everything is against the culture except for terrorism.
I think we should just hand the country over to extremists and backward jaahil people.
Those banning should know this “taboo” topic is the reason they are alive. No menstration means no fertility. No fertility 4 means no babies. Banners were babies 2 na. Nature se bhi panga. Leh. Apas ki baat. 🙄 Misogyny much? ‘PadMan’ banned in Pakistan https://t.co/ANkxyt194i
— Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) February 10, 2018
— Mahwash Ajaz (@mahwashajaz_) February 10, 2018
Those vouching for the movie's relevance in the Pakistani society included some of the country's top journalists.
It's wonderful to see Pakistani actresses, journalists and activists speaking up against the ban on PadMan in Pakistan. Films, notwithstanding where they are made, that focus on changing regressive views on women-oriented issues need our categorical support. @akshaykumar
— Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) February 11, 2018
#Padman should have released in Pakistan also. This film is equally relevant for pakistani audience as well. Hope pakistan censor board will change their mind & release it in pakistan.
— Sumit kadel (@SumitkadeI) February 11, 2018
Criticism also came in the form of spoofs that left many amused.
Akshay Kumar starrer Padman banned in Pakistan, Pakistan Censor board Chief Fakhr-e-Alam says 'Our women don't need sanitary pads, Pakistani men are smart, they make sure their women are always pregnant so they don't need to use pads'. pic.twitter.com/FtZ171ZkBB— Limes Of India (@LimesOfIndia) February 11, 2018