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Saturday, 10 February 2018

Pad Man (2018) (Hindi)


Take a couple of minutes before you read the review or at least watch the movie to read the story of Arunachalam Muruganatham who is the real Pad Man (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arunachalam_Muruganantham). Heroes like these are basic fodder for film makers like R Balki who usually treads the off beat path and this time he takes up an issue that most of us city slickers will be unfamiliar with.

The penetration of Sanitary Pads in India is lower than 20% - despite the efforts of Pad Man.  Arunachalam has been at it for over a decade now and if numbers from the movie are to be believed then it was as low as 10% when our hero started his work.  A big contribution to the growth has to be credited to Arunachalam, who now has a network spread across 23 out of the 29 states in India.  WOW!!!

Laxmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is a genuinely nice person who lives somewhere in Madhya Pradesh (Central India).  He gets married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte) and makes for a perfect husband.  Balki has established the empathetic character of The Pad Man through several quick shots like Laxmi building a back seat on his cycle for his wife amongst others.  Good work there I must say.

Laxmi soon realizes the when Gayatri has her periods, she is forced to live outside the house and more importantly uses a cloth to soak up the bleeding – probably the most unhygienic way possible.  More importantly, the same cloth is washed and used again.  Unable to accept this, he first buys very expensive sanitary pads (₹55 a pack) and when that doesn’t go down well, he embarks on a project to make cheaper pads for his wife.

But as always is the case in India, anyone who tries to do some good will be pulled down by the other millions – the perfect example of Crab Syndrome.  Starting with the villagers and eventually moving onto his family, one by one, Laxmi is ostracized.  But he doesn’t give up and keeps at it.  Eventually to find success and acceptance.

Some great dialogues – as always with Balki.  When Pari (Sonam Kapoor) congratulates Laxmi on making such a cheap product he responds by saying, “सस्ता ? कई रातों की नींद, एक बीवी, एक माँ, एक गांव और ९० हज़ार का कर्ज़ा” (cheap alright.  Just cost me several nights of sleep, a wife, a mother, a village and about ₹90000 in debt).  Delivered genuinely and from the heart from Akshay.  There are a few other good ones but I will leave it to you to hear them when you watch the movie.

Stand out performance from Radhika Apte and Akshay Kumar.  Some typical Amit Trivedi music provides the right garnish over the 140 minutes.  The movie could have been tighter for certain.  Sonam Kapoor is tolerable which is more than one can say for her at most times – but I definitely would not have made her pretend to be a great tabla player.  Too many coincidences again leave you with a feeling of what could have been.

The one thing that kept nagging me through the movie and even before - and it has nothing to do with me being a South Indian - is that the story is about someone from Tamil Nadu.  Balki could have made the movie in Tamil with a Tamil Cast and maybe dubbed it in Hindi to make it work.  Would have been brave and worth commending. I get the rationale of pandering to the masses but it would have made for so much better watching if they had stuck to the regional nuances.

But the negatives kept aside, Pad Man is a good watch.  Take your kids along because they need to know.  One can only hope that the movie inspires many others to do some pathbreaking work.  More importantly, it would make the remaining 400 million women of age to take up more hygienic options.  Because remember – “Woman Strong, Mother Strong, Sister Strong – Then Country Strong”.  7 on 10.  Watch it!!!

Watch the actual trailer on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKkyqBj_rQE

2 comments:

  1. Your post is really outstanding. the para-4 is good. This blog too much informational for me. Manisha Bapna an all time work as humble and hardworking samajik karyakarta always to provide services for the women empowerment in Madhya Pradesh, India. She is always ready for the help of needy people.

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  2. These movie is fantastic. I am working in Car towing service company. My company given ticket of me this movie. In this movie showed women story. Thanks for sharing wonderful blog.

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