PadMan movie cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte

PadMan movie director: R Balki

PadMan movie rating: 3 stars

Want to feel empowered? Follow this 4 step simple guide:

 

Step 1 - Hold a sanitary napkin.

Step 2 - Take a selfie.

Step 3- Post it on your Instagram page.

Step 4 - Add a feminist quote and flaunt your empowered self.

Yes, I am taking a dig at all those #Bollywood celebrities, posing with a pad in their hand and promoting #PadMan. While PadMan’s promotional campaign is questionable, the movie itself stands tall for feminism and addresses a crucial social message - menstrual hygiene.

This is Kumar’s second in line for endorsing a female based social cause after Toilet: Ek Prem Katha. Unlike Toilet, the movie is not as frivolously political or nationalist. Kudos to director R Balki who conducts a demanding job of upholding entertainment quotient, spreading awareness and sensitizing people about the issue, all at one go. Balki does well!

Padman is based on the real-life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham (played by Akshay Kumar), who revolutionised menstrual health for Indian women by inventing the cheap machine used to make sanitary pads. His sensitivity towards women, intelligence (despite being illiterate) and diligence shine in real and reel life. Akshay’s character, Lakshmikant Chauhan laments for his wife, sisters and other community females after seeing them use dirty rags during their menstrual cycle. In order to appeal and reach out to the most common denominator, the plot is simplistic, overtly explained and dramatic.

At one point, young boys make nasty comments and refer to periods as ‘five-day test matches’. I had never heard that one before, but surely there are many such amateurish epithets for menstruating women. 

Talking about performances, Akshay Kumar deserves a big applause. It is unprecedented to see a Bollywood celeb trying a sanitary pad on pink underwear and squatting several times to ensure it sits well. PadMan will surely radiate in Kumar’s impressive body of work for a lifetime. Pari, played by Sonam Kapoor is introduced much later in the film. She brings an urban flavour but does not add enough to the narrative. Especially the love angle between Lakshmi and Pari was quite unconvincing and unnecessary.

Balki’s film entails a number of under layering subjects such as man versus woman, rural versus digital India, intelligence versus literacy. It questions the notions of virility and the monopoly of multinationals amidst exorbitantly priced basic commodities.

Overall, PadMan is a memorable and important film. It raises important issues and addresses the stigma around menstrual cycle prevalent in society across the world. I say ‘world’ confidently after Trump carelessly mentioned to Fox’s Megyn Kelly, “blood coming out of her whatever”.

This movie doesn't make for a girl’s night out. It urges all men to come and support a cause so important to the society. Period!