Did you know only about 12% of the women in India have access to sanitary pads? But I learned so much more when I saw R Balki’s film Pad Man today which is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu who introduced low-cost sanitary pads. The film was not just about women who do not have the access, but women who are not educated or simply afraid to talk about a ‘thing’ that has existed on this planet since the first female existed.
Sometimes I feel as though being an American has made me take advantage of the simple things that occur in my life where millions of women in a country like India have turned periods to a be a taboo to talk about and a topic that should be hidden under the covers because it’s ‘impure’ and only women should be able to talk about it behind closed doors.
Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, and Sonam Kapoor played characters that showcase three different sides of this topic. Not only was I appalled by the conceptualization of the film, but I was happy to see that this topic is being recognized by such divine actors of the industry. The film began and I was shaking my head at every attitude and point of dialogue and by the end of the film I had tears of happiness at the edge of my eyelids and just simply felt happy to know our film industry is producing such films. Where Akshay’s character receives a Padmashri award, he himself should receive one outside of this film.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Sonam Kapoor on-screen. She is definitely one of my favorite actors of today and her character creates an important impact on the film. Plus I just really loved all her clothes in the film! Radhika Apte an avid unconventional actor in today’s cinema as always speaks with her eyes and facial expressions which is one of the reasons I love seeing her on-screen always.
The story takes you on the journey of how Akshay’s character Lakshmikant tries to understand the health benefits of a pad and why only a small number of women in the country have access. In small villages where people are willing to give 50 Rs. for a few prayers to God and in return for fruits, that same amount of money could go into purchasing sanitary pads for better health. I won’t give much more of this story away because its a must watch on the big screen, and whether you are a man or woman I highly recommend this be a film to see this year.
While the topic seems very serious and perhaps dry to some, it is a lot more. R Balki has taken this basic topic and intertwined a beautiful story of how one doesn’t need to happy by being rich and one doesn’t need to always create an impact in hopes for a monetary return. There is much more to life, such as love, health, and a happy life.
I have been an avid Hindi film buff technically since I was 4. But I know for a fact as a kid I just enjoyed cinema for the songs and dancing. As cinema has grown and matured, so have I and hope people will to when they watch this film.
Check out my favorite track of the film!
“Aaj Se Teri” by Arijit Singh