R Balki

Filmmaker R. Balki says banning a film like “Pad Man” is unfair to women and humanity. (photo provided)

MUMBAI—Filmmaker R. Balki, whose latest film "Pad Man" is yet to release in Pakistan, says banning the movie means being unfair to women and humanity.

On Feb. 14, Balki along with the film's co-producer Twinkle Khanna attended an event for the celebration of its success and to hold a discussion – organized by Unicef and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – on taboos related to menstrual hygiene.

Asked about the countries where "Pad Man" got banned, Balki said: "It has been banned only in Pakistan. I think they have their own reasons, but I think they are wrong reasons."

"You can't ban a film like this. If you are banning this film, then you are actually being unfair to women and humanity because it's not just because of the movie, it's because of a story of this man's life and what issue it's addressing."

Balki also informed that the Middle East has accepted the film.

"Strangely, the film's biggest success is in the Middle East. It's the first film to be screened in Iraq and a country where Hindi cinema wasn't released earlier and are conservative in their outlook.

"I am sure there (Pakistan) will be a lot of public pressure too, to kind of want to see the film because this is not a political kind of stuff. It's a simple film for humanity," said Balki.

Sharing an interaction with a central ministry official about how this film could have become the center of controversy, Balki said: "Recently, a person from the central ministry met me and said that menstruation is the most controversial subject in India, but it actually had no controversy as a film.

"He pointed out that this film could have had a larger controversy and so many religious and political organizations could have said so many things but they didn't, and they actually supported it."

"Pad Man" tells the real-life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham and how he came to inventing low-cost sanitary napkins for women.

It released on Feb. 9.

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