Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
Directed by: R. Balki
Produced by: Twinkle Khanna
Production House: Columbia Pictures, Hope Productions, KriArj Entertainment, Mrs. Funnybones Movies
Written By: R. Balki
Cinematography: P.C. Sreeram
Music: Amit Trivedi
Genre: Biographical Comedy Drama
Plot: The movie PadMan by R. Balki talks about menstrual hygiene in today’s society. The film is based on “The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land”, a short story written by Bollywood actress Twinkle Khanna who is also the producer of the movie. Twinkle got her inspiration from the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a simple metal-worker in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, who later became a social activist and revolutionized the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India by creating a low-cost sanitary napkins machine. He raised the issue in India and challenged the patriarchal taboos with a candor and determination at the time when men from all over the progressive world might hesitate to talk about it. The machine, which Arunachalam Muruganantham built, is his award-winning invention and has contributed in empowering women as it serves as a means to earn an independent livelihood.
Movie Review: In the movie, Akshay Kumar plays the role of Lakshmikant Chouhan, a mechanic who lives in a village in Madhya Pradesh. He is branded as a pervert by the villagers because he focuses too much on women and their problems. Lakshmi, after getting married to Gayatri ( Radhika Apte), notices how his wife ostracizes herself from the household during menstruation. He further notices that his wife relies on dirty rags to clean the menstrual blood which serves as a cause of various health hazards and could invite health problems for his wife. He comes to know that his wife did not use sanitary napkins because they were absurdly overpriced. So, he single-mindedly focuses on creating affordable sanitary napkins.
There are various scenes in the movie which not only evoke humour but also appear to be satirical. For example, in a scene, Lakshmi is shushed by a chemist and is asked not to say “sanitary pad” out loud because women are present, and his reply is “but, they are the ones who use it”. In another scene, his mother threatens to leave home, and he is compelled to take off for Indore. Other than these there are various scenes in the movie which carry similar essence.
The character of Sonam Kapoor has served as a catalyst in the vision of Lakshmi Prasad. She appears as a character of a woman who has urban, rational and humanitarian sensibilities. The character of Sonam Kapoor is drawn really well by R. Balki and focus is strictly kept on the menstrual hygiene.
Our verdict: Akshay Kumar has done justice to his character of a man who faces a series of hurdles which include skepticism, superstition, ridicule, condemnation, and finally even banishment from the village. The performance of Sonam Kapoor is also remarkable as she has done justice to her character. Radhika Apte could have shown more of her fabulous acting skills if she was provided the space but overall the movie appears to be a must-watch as it is the first mainstream film to dare address what has long been stuck between the legs.
The movie may appear repetitive in the first half but the second half is exceedingly gripping.