We all know the story but to see it come alive on big screens makes it a different experience altogether. Director R Balki has tried his best to present the story of a man called Arunachalam Muruganantham, who braved all odds to ensure his wife gets a healthy and long life, giving India its very own ‘PadMan’.
He was honoured with Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2016.
Akshay Kumar plays Lakshmikant Chauhan in the movie while Radhika Apte is seen as Gayatri—his doting wife. The plot is set at the backdrop of a village in Madhya Pradesh and we are zoomed into the household where Lakshmi and Gayatri enjoy their new-found marital bliss.
And there comes a jerk in that. Why? PERIOD. Yes, the taboo associated with the monthly cycle of a woman is sadly seen in the country as a big issue which needs not to be talked about and if at all one has to, then keeping it hush-hush is the only recourse.
Lakshmi tries to break that practice and it’s no mean deal. He faces tough situations at home, faces rejection from his mother, sisters and even wife. On seeing his wife use a dirty piece of cloth in ‘those 5 days’, the man can’t sit at home in peace. The taboo of making the woman who is chumming stay outside the house and not let her meet her husband takes us back in time but sadly it holds relevance.
The screenplay moves smoothly showing how Lakshmi makes several efforts in trying to make a sanitary pad all my himself. Why? Because it’s uncomfortable priced at Rs 55 and not every village woman can afford that. The plight of Lakshmi and several others like him in the country is resonated in the movie.
But the difference is that Lakshmi decides that he ‘can’ and finally does. He runs his mind in every direction to learn how to make a sanitary napkin at home. The comic punches by Akshay in his trademark style lightens up the screen and his chemistry with Radhika works well.
Despite pushing a socially relevant issue of menstrual hygiene, ‘PadMan‘ does look a bit of a drag in the first-half. It’s only post-intermission that the film catches up the pace. With Sonam Kapoor, who plays Pari—a modern young woman of today—the narrative takes a bit of a turn.
She brings freshness to the tale of struggle and helps Lakshmi take his invention to the world. His United Nations speech in ‘Linglish’ (ya not English) will make you proud in a funny way.
Lakshmi wins his battle by creating a low-cost sanitary napkins machine not just for his wife but for women in villages, who also get a source of income by working with him. The man clearly shows immense focus and dedication in making every effort count and leaving no stone unturned in bringing a smile on the face of his beloved wife.
While the West has Superman and Batman, India certainly can be proud of ‘PadMan’.
Go watch it because you must. Period
(RATINGS: 3/5 Stars)