The ban on the release of the film PadMan comes as a shock to the Pakistani audience. The film is a take of menstrual hygiene of women and narrates the story of a young man in India who came up with the idea of providing cheap sanitary pads to women of underprivileged backgrounds. The fact that the censor board banned the film without even watching it is a bit of a concern. The job of the people appointed in the censor board is to watch films and then, based on the criteria set before, decide whether or not the film is approved for screening in the country.

The censor board in this case, without watching the film, labelled it unIslamic only because it deals with a topic considered taboo in our society. It is beyond understanding how a film is termed unIslamic without actually seeing the content. At the same time, menstrual hygiene is an important part of a woman’s life. One of the reasons why Pakistani women lack a good menstrual hygiene is because everyone is ashamed to talk about such topics and no progress is made in order to make the availability of these products easier for women.

This film would have been a good opportunity to open up debate around the issue. However, if the censor board is too shy to deal with such topics then professionals need to be hired who can thoroughly watch the content and approve or disapprove a film on actual criteria rather than assumptions. Their job is to approve the visual content of the film and not the subject matter. In this case particularly, where the aim of the film is to highlight an important issue which affects both societies equally, banning it altogether is regressive.