By Dhriti Mehta
This long-lasting trend in South Asian cinema never seems to go out of style, be it in Kanpur or Karachi. And no, we’re not talking about melodramatic vidaais or snarky sasu mas. We’re talking about the infamous ‘B word’ for Bollywood movies – BANNED!
While most of the world continues to celebrate the success and message of the movie Padman, Pakistan’s Censor Board has declared that due to the nature of the film that goes against the “cultures and traditions of Pakistan”, they cannot allow for film distributors to import the movie and have thus **gulp** banned the film in the country.
With the film director R Balki fretting and furious with this decision, it seems Pakistani women have had enough.
In a Facebook post on the page Girls at Dhabhas, women and girls of Pakistan have started a movement to end this ban and subsequently the shame that surrounds the issue of menstruation in the country.
Hey Censor Board. Muslim women menstruate. Non Muslim women menstruate. There's nothing against our Islamic traditions…
These young women are calling out the Censor Board on its arbitrary decision to ban ‘Padman’ and are encouraging other Pakistani women to share their stories of periods on social media.
However, what is perhaps the most interesting aspect of this outrage is that the movement recognises that while Pakistan is home to Muslim women, it is also home to a large non-Muslim population that has been completely ignored in the religious reasoning for the film ban provided by the Censor Board. (Woohoo! Secularism and feminism in one shot. Way to go girls!)
Looking at the overwhelming attention and positive feedback the post has garnered in the digital space till now, it looks like this social media movement may go a long way and hopefully reach those in power and make them reconsider their decisions.
Till then, all we can do is hope and pray that perhaps better sense prevails over the Censor Board and unlike another sena (ahem) they first decide to watch the movie to avoid all the miscommunication and confusion that follows.