Many films about relevant, important subjects are not actually good movies. R Balki’s PadMan, which features an extra ordinary true life story brought to the screen featuring Akshay Kumar, is both a strong film and one that needs to be watched.
Based on the extraordinary life of innovator Arunachalam Muruganantham, PadMan is a film about those who need to take things apart in order to build something better. Muruganantham did this with pads as well as with stigma. Menstrual hygiene is still an alarmingly taboo subject in India, with education and urbanity unable to prevent, for instance, a woman with her period from attending family rituals. There is an infuriating notion of the unclean attached to the period- a notion that makes little sense in a country full of mother-goddesses- and it is a subject most conversations skirt away from.
It is therefore impressive to watch this story told featuring Akshay Kumar, a main stream hero known for his bulletproof manliness.
In R Balki’s inspiring and touching film, we have this very hero trying on a sanitary napkin, then riding a bicycle with his trousers bloodied. In a country where people buy undershirts based on what Kumar claims to wear, this feels historic.
It is important here to note that while many a film can be labeled relevant or commendable, that does not automatically make it a fine film. PadMan–written by Balki and Swanand Kirkire, based on a short story by Twinkle Khanna- is a genuinely strong movie, telling an unlikely story in a likeable fashion and doing it briskly and smartly.
CAST: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor
DIRECTOR: R. Balki