Thursday, 22 February, 2018

'Pad Man' will bring changes in society: Akshay Kumar

Actor Akshay Kumar on the set of Pad Man. Courtesy of Pad Man Actor Akshay Kumar on the set of Pad Man. Courtesy of Pad Man
Kristopher Love | 09 February, 2018, 10:40

At the premiere of the film, "Padman", Union Minister for I& B Smriti Zubin Irani was all praise for Twinkle Khanna, the producer of the movie and her husband and main lead of the movie, Akshay Kumar.

Akshay plays Mr Muruganantham and Radhika Apte plays his wife in the film. It gripped me immediately because there were two empowering parts.

Petrified of Gayatri falling victim to unhygienic menstrual practices, Lakshmi decides to challenge the age-old beliefs pertaining to periods and tries to make low-priced sanitary napkins for his wife.

It took Muruganantham five years to develop the affordable pad and in the process he lost his wife and was kicked out his village. "Prior to this film, I have never heard men talk about sanitary napkins". Kumar convinced his wife to turn the story into a feature movie with the goal of improving women's health in India.

"But this is only the beginning and I hope that the Khelo India movement gets the right momentum through your support".

Balki who is known for turning things on its head has done it again with Pad Man. But Pad Man socks this societal taboo in such a Films Division style, the message it wants to convey literally makes it to the dialogue sheet.And while one would laud the makers for crossing swords with self-appointed cultural curators, the whole affair ends up being a tedious public service offering.

Twinkle
Producer Twinkle Khanna and actor Akshay Kumar with the real Arunachalam Muruganantham on the set of Pad Man

The cinematic liberty gains huge significance in this film because Muruganatham has given his consent (as per a discliamer preceding the film) to the makers to alter certain facts of his success story. The topic which people don't even talk openly, a courageous attempt has been made by the Director R. Balki to talk about the personal hygiene of women specially in the rural areas and showcasing the same on the big screen. He pioneered pads for the sake of menstrual hygiene for women. Social entrepreneur Muruganantham, from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, went through the social ostracism that we see on screen before he went on to become a sensation for inventing low-priced sanitary pads and impacting menstrual hygiene among women in villages. I wanted men - every father, brother and uncle - to talk and know about it.

The much awaited movie, PadMan is released today and according to the initial reports people are accepting it with open arms. His efforts at making a usable sanitary napkin is met with disgust and an overwhelming sense of shame - by all the women in his life - including his mother, sisters, and wife. We have a very cool interview with star Akshay Kumar but first let's set the stage for the film.

But Padman is definitely a relevant film and its biggest achievement is that it normalizes and initiates conversations on menstruation and menstrual hygiene.

"A lot of people think women should stay at home, so why give them an excuse to stop women from doing anything".

"It is an entertaining film, and people will not feel uncomfortable while watch it with their families, " she said. We are aiming to get the film's message out to as many people and places around the world as possible, especially in the places where this message is needed. The challenge came close on the heels of the release of Pad Man.