Padman

Cast- Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte,Sonam Kapoor,Jyoti Subhash Mirnmayee Godbole

Director- R. Balki

Writer-R, Balki, Swanand Kirkire

Is the biographical story of a man who made female menstrual hygiene his motto in life and made a tremendous difference to the lives of millions of rural women.

It’s the story of sheer grit and resilience. It awakens us ,inspires us ,overwhelms us and draws immense respect for the man,The original Padman, Arunachalam Muruganantham.

Hats off to the entire team behind the movie i.e Twinkle Khanna, everyone’s favourite Mrs. Funnybones, for coming up with the idea and convincing the original Padman to agree to the idea of the movie. Hats off to R. Balki, for executing it so well. It must not have been an easy job to not only pick up such a taboo and uncomfortable topic but also to be able to make an interesting movie out of it. And of course Hats Off to the heart throb of millions, Akshay, to be brave enough to portray the character and that tough story so well.

The movie begins with the portrayal of Lakshmikant Chauhan(Akshay) and his perfect loving world with wife(Radhika Apte) ,mother and sisters in a small town. Almost immediately, the story progresses to his noticing and not being agreeable to the way women deal with “ those five days”. Their seclusion, the untouchability, the shame and secrecy, their means of handling that phase has been brought up, highlighted and discussed, but in such subtle manner that it manages to convey without making us cringe.

His obsession with the issue from the point of view of health and hygiene was equally matched by the women’s refusal to see logic and reasoning. His resilience to keep looking for affordable and practical solutions was equally matched by frustrating ignorance of people. Each step of his effort was thwarted by people who refused to support. So much so that he was shunned by his own family and town.

Heartbroken but not broken in spirits ,the man continues on and manages to make path breaking innovation. But sadly, the shunning and shaming continues till he finds support by an educated, open minded woman (Sonam Kapoor) who helps him not only get recognition but also helps his innovation reach and benefits millions of rural women.

It’s admirable to see that the man who made the low cost innovative pad making machine had a chance to make millions by making a patent and selling it. He chose instead to follow his heart and what inspired him at the very beginning, to benefit those who are deprived and who cannot afford the hygienic solutions.

At the same time it was heart-breaking to see that even after he gets his first award for his innovation, people were ready to acclaim his fame but not the product for which he had received it .

Finally, after a huge cost of a major part of his life, his family and marathon efforts, he manages to find the recognition he deserves and most important of all , the acceptance to address the issue.

R. Balki who is known for taking up offbeat subjects, has done a fantastic job. He manages to entertain and engage which is of utmost importance if the message has to reach across the masses.

Subtle humour and romance have all been used beautifully while keeping the subject light and non-preachy.

Performances are superb.

Radhika Apte as the simple ignorant wife is brilliant. She conveys the shame and pain so beautifully that you feel for her and her ignorance in spite of her refusal to see things and support her husband.

Sonam is perfect in her role as the sassy educated woman.

Akshay is wonderful with his portrayal of the simple, less educated, much in love husband who carries on his path and his mission in spite of losing almost everything.

And no words for his courage. At the kind of position he is ,with that macho image and all that, who would dare to wear a pink underwear with a pad onscreen ?

The music is great. Lyrics are by Kausar Munir and music by Amit Trivedi. The song “ aaj se teri” at the beginning of the movie with its beautiful lyrics is very romantic with its simplicity.

We have seen so many well-made inspiring movies .What sets this one apart is its success in handling such an offbeat and difficult subject and its perfect execution. Their offbeat and aggressive marketing itself is doing wonders in terms of bringing the issue out of closets.

The movie makes you feel the journey of the man with all his passion, pains, frustrations and perseverance conveyed as perfectly as possible. All this ,while you are completely engaged emotionally, which I think is a feat for the director. The movie is so full of overwhelming moments that you would often find yourself misty eyed.

And most importantly ,the movie manages to do what it aims at .

It pulls you out of your comfort zones ,pulls down the discomfort of discussing the issue and pulls up your resolve to do your own little bit about it.

It’s a must watch for one and all.

Score 9 on 10

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