It is heartening to note the recent surge in the number of Bollywood movies that connect to the ground realities. Padman, directed by R. Balki, is the real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham who resolved to make the world’s first low-cost sanitary pad making machine to help solve a major societal problem.
Know why you must watch it:
For roping men in the conversation
There is a scene in the movie wherein a doctor apprises Lakshmikant Chauhan (played by Akshay Kumar) that there are a lot of husbands who do not even know that their wives menstruate for five days a month and how using rags or ashes instead of a sanitary napkin can be fatal for them. The information jolts him and he decides to create affordable sanitary napkins for women, winning him the title of “Padman” of India.
2. For encouraging innovation
It was fascinating to watch Akshay Kumar toiling day and night to find ways of making a machine that could produce affordable sanitary napkins. Without formal education and backing of his own people, he ended up solving one of the most serious conundrums that Indian women face — lack of access to sanitary napkins.
3. For highlighting menstrual taboos
For Gayatri (Akshay Kumar’s wife played by Radhika Apte), “auraton ke liye sabse badi beemari hai sharam”, highlighting the disgrace attached to having one’s periods. From sleeping outside to staying away from their husbands, from shunning school to being ostracised from society, the movie aptly highlights the isolation and inconvenience women have to put up with during menstruation.
4. Highlighting a cornucopia of other issues
Besides addressing menstrual issues, there were a lot of other problems that are subtly highlighted. For instance, the movie also talks about domestic violence and how financially independent women can break the shackles of patriarchy by earning their livelihood. Akshay Kumar, through his innovation, manages to help a lot of women seek employment by making pads and selling them.
5. A compelling message
Lakshmi’s passion to find a solution to the so-called “women’s problem” is commendable and inspiring. In one of the scenes, he also explains how life is meant to be riddled with problems. In fact, finding solutions to them is the basis of being alive. And thus, encouraging people to live a life filled with purpose.