Millennium Post

"PadMan" | Breaking the menstrual taboo

 11 Feb 2018 11:23 AM GMT  |  Syeda Eba

Breaking the menstrual taboo

‘People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do’. Akshay Kumar starrer PadMan is the story of one such crazy fellow, a rebel and a misfit, who couldn’t absorb the social stigma around menstruation, and hence goes on to break the rampant taboo. Based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, India’s ‘menstrual man’, the movie unfolds how a school dropout fights the battle for women’s menstrual health. 

Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar), portrays a caring husband, who is head over heels in love with his wife Gayatri (Radhika Apte). In fact, the bond between the two will remind you of Akshay’s last flick Toilet..., where hero’s concern towards his wife takes the form of obstinacy.

Seeing Gayatri use dirty, unhygienic cloth (with which he would not even clean his cycle, as he says) hits him hard, and Laxmi takes on to a voyage to break the awkward silence around sanitary pads and menstruation. How he fights against the society, financial limitations and all the other odds to build up a ‘low-cost production system for sanitary napkins, takes the story forward.

The movie is quite a brave attempt by Balki and his team where he boldly talks about menstruation, without crossing the line between decency and obscenity. Not for a single moment, would you feel uncomfortable while watching it. It’s beautiful how the writer highlights the conservative and insensible attitude of the society towards a normal biological process.

Certain scenes like the ones where women can be seen using terms like ‘neeji cheezein’, ‘Aurton ki Cheeze’ (referring to menstruation and pads), following traditions which demand them to sleep outside the room during those five days, eating alone and staying away from the husband – utilizing elements like these, Balki has turned a simple tale into an engaging narrative.

Using humour as a channel to communicate an extremely sensitive issue is worth the applause. More than the narrative, it was Akshay’s dialogue delivery that will tickle your fancy. Amit Trivedi’s music helps in lifting up the storyline whenever it falls flat. Though the movie is engaging overall, the monologue towards the end, the sentimental talks between Laxmi and Gayatri could have been presented briefly.

As far as the performances are concerned, Akshay as expected gave his best while Radhika Apte fabulously carries the image of a submissive woman, complimenting the male lead throughout. Sonam, playing Akshay’s support system, looks fine till she develops feelings for him. The love triangle does not seem to fit in the story in any manner.

What’s interesting to note is that PadMan shares its storyline to Phullu, a movie released in 2017. However, the latter was given an A-certificate by the censor board and therefore, couldn’t do well at the box office. It somehow convinces us to believe that commercial element is still dominant in our industry.

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