Produced by: Twinkle Khanna, Gauri Shinde, Prernaa Arora, Arjun N. Kapoor
Directed by: R. Balki
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor
Genre: Drama, Social
By: Dipti Ranglani Gulabani
There are many things city folks know, discuss, debate and accept in public. But none of that benefits or counts because that’s not the majority. The only thing in majority is the number of women who don’t get access to the basics and rights to the essentials. What are we talking about? Sanitary napkins, of course. Thankfully, a man understood this, worked towards it and at the cost of losing his family, respect and being ousted from the village – he managed to produce cheap sanitary napkins that the women from lower socio economic background could buy and finally bid the unhygienic use of dirty cloths and dry leaves good bye! This is a true story based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham. This is the story of Pad Man.
The year is 2012 and many women, let alone the men, think that the mere mention of the word menstruation is cringe inducing and an invitation to social wrath. This “impure topic” is made fun of as 5 day test series rather than treated with care or maturity. Amidst this circus of double standards, we have a man who accepts the responsibility and the challenge to tell the story about a strong-willed, hygiene obsessed ironsmith who finds new ways to show his care for his loved ones. Akshay Kumar as Lakshmikant Chauhan shows us in more ways than one, how and why this natural phenomena doesn’t need to be disregarded, or worse yet, allowed to be life – threatening. Lakshmi has only one agenda – make affordable pads for the rural women and help them understand the need for hygiene. The portrayal of Lakshmi’s earnest journey and noble intentions while keeping the movie well-paced is what impresses the most. The dialogues that go through the thickest of the Indian mindsets, the script that hits right in the sweet spot of age old hypocrisy and the screenplay that allows the movie to be watched with entire family without being ashamed is awe-inducing and absolutely applause-worthy. The story allows its actors to busts many myths in an almost unspoken manner, but what’s most endearing is this manliest man bringing out the feminist in him and revolutionising the system for the women, the same women who long stopped supporting him. Radhika Apte as Gayatri and Sonam Kapoor as Pari fill the required spaces brilliantly as do the other supporting cast members. R. Balki’s direction, along with his and Swanand Kirkire’s writing create the much needed stir in every stuck up Indian mind. Suffice it to say that Pad Man is technically stunning and morally amazing.
What Doesn’t Work?
In what is otherwise a meaningful movie with mass appeal, Pad Man lacks the lustre of good music. While rural feel and massy taste is Amit Trivedi’s forte, the same cannot be held true in this case. The additional love angle was not only unnecessary but also unwatchable. In his quest to make this preachy movie more commercial, Balki let the second half slip in few moments.
It’s an honest, inspirational and a very important movie that needs to be watched by men and women across all social strata!