PadMan- breaking the ‘pad’ tabboo


Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, and Radhika Apte starrer PadMan has created a lot of buzz. Directed by R. Balki, this film is based on the life of Padmashri Arunachalam Muruganantham a commoner from Tamil Nadu who came up with low priced sanitary napkins in the villages of India.

It is still taboo to talk about periods in India, especially in the rural parts. This film talks about how periods are completely normal and menstrual hygiene is extremely important and how rural women are ignorant towards it. The movie shows the life of a Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) who sets out on a journey to produce low-cost sanitary napkins. He comes up with this idea after seeing his wife Gayatri’s (Radhika Apte) plight during ‘that time of the month’. He lives in a village in Madhya Pradesh where periods are called as a ‘5-day test match’ by young boys. There are a lot of hurdles thrown in Lakshmi’s way as he tries to change the mindset of the women around him to start wearing sanitary napkins and give up using pieces of cloth or leaves. His wife leaves him, his family leaves him but he relentlessly keeps on trying.

An honest tweet on this by none other than Arunachalam Muruganantham

Lakshmi even devices a machine that produces sanitary napkins, costing only 2 rupees.  He not only introduces low-cost pads but also creates employment for women in villages. With the help of Pari (Sonam Kapoor), he manages to distribute these sanitary napkins to thousands of women in many villages all over the country. Lakshmi also gets the opportunity to talk at a United Nations Summit in New York. His innocence is evident when Pari tells him about going to New York, he replies with ‘Ye Konsa Gaon Hai?’ His efforts aren’t fully acknowledged until he is awarded the Padmashri. His motive wasn’t to earn money but only to raise a voice against the old unhygienic method of using cloth.

All in all, this movie touches many spheres- the lack of awareness of menstrual hygiene among women, people’s inability to change their mindset towards something even if it is irrational and how talking about periods is still a taboo in our nation. The film has managed to start a lot of talks on social media through campaigns and hashtags. It is an ode to the remarkable work done by the real PadMan- Arunachalam Muruganantham.

Yes, the movie has got everyone and UN Women talking about it.

Although this film has those typical Bollywood touches (the movie begins with a cheesy love song), it sure does seem like an eye-opener. So, Padman is a must watch. Have you booked your tickets yet?


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Shivani Joshi

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