If you have / are a woman as a mother, sister, daughter or wife; or you don’t have you ought to know what menstruation is as a biological phenomenon because you are born from it.
Whether a man/woman/boy/girl; how many of us understand periods the right way? Are we taught periods before we (girls) get them? Are we taught from our school teachers or from our parents? Is period a part of our curriculum?
Should it be a part?
In a society like ours where talking to your dad or brother or your boy-friend about periods was a no-no to watching a movie like PAD MAN has come as a breath of fresh air.
A movie like this I wish would have been made years back – where we wouldn’t have been ashamed to bleed in pain and blood and go hush- hush about the same and talk in “whispers”. In a country where only 12% of women use menstrual hygiene products and menstruation is called ‘aunty aayi hai’ to ‘Are you PMSing?’ or ‘Bloody mary’; PAD MAN will definitely be a talking point for many women-girls and even men around.
PAD MAN comes across as a sensitive movie where the husband Lakshmikant Chauhan played by Akshay Kumar is appalled to see his wife use rags of cloth during her periods. He is shocked to find the treatment meted out by women to women by sleeping outside in the verandah and the taboos surrounding her presence in the house as well as she even talking to her husband.
From not touching the religious idols to sleeping outside the house, to not touching pickles and not entering temples; women around India have been inhumanly treated during their periods. Thanks to taboos that have been perpetrated from centuries- from elderly women to young ones, these rituals continue to affect half of the Indian population – called Women-kind.
With cult movies like these targeting a social awakening and a culture change, hopefully menstrual hygiene becomes a talking chapter and a household ritual.
Lakshmikant has depicted finely the feelings of a loving husband and a social change maker who wishes to make sanitary napkins at an affordable pricing and making it available to as many women as possible. He also dreams of building a sanitary pad making machine which would become a channel to empower women by being a source of their income too.
Radhika Apte who enacts the central character, as Gayatri, Laxmi’s wife who’s known for her acting acumen, has finely presented to the world the exact portrayal of the Indian village women. Through the movie, R Balki has shown the plight of Indian women trapped in the customs where she needs to hide her menstrual rags, is ashamed to have even a conversation with her husband. Her dialogue “Auraton ke liye sabse badi bimaari hain sharm” (the worst disease for a women is shame) won an applause amongst the theatre audience.
The movie also correctly depicts what would be possibly the real life response of a society or village panchayat or an Indian family at large to Laxmi’s wish of making sanitary napkins and support menstrual hygiene for his wife and his sisters. He is banished from his home by his wife, mother and sisters and the entire community at large. He finds relief when Sonam Kapoor who plays the character Pari supports him towards making his dream come true.
Mr. R Balki, the director of the movie also shows the utter hypocrisy of Indian society when the village women celebrate a girl attaining menstruation while she is ostracized for those 5 days (the test match) during her periods for her entire life- once a month.
The movie comes at an age which is trapped in the arms of Indian society almost choking to fly free from its age old restrictions while being confused to accept western concepts completely. In such a period, Pad Man has given a big platform to women around India and hopefully the world to embrace it as a very normal biological function and to debate and discuss about hygiene and its reach to every woman.
I hope this movie reaches as many young girls and boys, as many women and men & as many elderly folks to help shape their minds and concepts correctly to drop the unnecessary taboos so that together we create a more hygienic living environment. Not just for women, for men too.
Thank you Mr. Balki for scripting a tale of change – as bloody brilliant as it gets, with all its simplicity & nuances of excellent story- telling and thank you Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham, for inspiring the mind of not just the ace story teller but also an entire race of Indians who should now be ready to live the change.
When I asked my girl-friend how you doing – she rightfully referred to her day as the PAD MAN day!
A great make – A sheer entertaining stroke that adds meaning to & opens tight shut windows about our creation as the human kind. Period.
The Real Pad Man, Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, India. He is the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and has been a pioneer to generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. His mini-machines, which can manufacture sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads, have been installed in 23 of the 29 states of India. He is currently planning to expand the production of these machines to 106 nations.
In 2014, he was included in Time magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.