Directed By: R Balki
Produced By: Mrs Funnybones Movies, KriArj Entertainment, Cape of Good Films, Hope Productions, SPE Films India
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
Duration: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3/5
If you believe you can, you are halfway there. Parents use this therapy to their children who are sinking in schools and colleges. Just, they don’t tell you there would be teenage crushes, diet fads, breakups, insufficient pocket money and unbearable math classes. Was that too weird to begin my ‘PadMan’ review with?
Even before I begin analysing ‘PadMan’ as a film, I think films like these should be lauded just because they’re being made. That actors and filmmakers are using cinema as a tool to strike conversations, tickle thoughts and raise debates, itself is a relief; especially in a country of over 100 crores with numerous problems, most of them neither spoken nor understood.
The film is based on a Tamil Nadu based social activist who invented a low-cost sanitary napkin producing machine. Lakshmikant Chauhan, a man from an MP village, learns of rural women’s plight during menstruation after he is married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte)… Or, why am I even using ‘rural’ when the taboos are equally prevalent in urban spheres as well? Determined to bring more hygiene to how the women at his home handle periods but aware that they can’t afford to buy the sanitary napkins available in stores, he begins attempts of making them himself.
For every innovative idea, you’ve to pay a price. For Lakshmikant, it’s on the heavier side. In the course of communicating to women and understanding the problems better, he earns the tag of ‘loose character’. His two sisters and wife leave him. Devastated with the constant emotional ups and downs, he leaves his village; however, with the determination of succeeding at his attempts one day.
Rest shapes a man’s bumpy journey towards fulfilment. Not without hiccups, though.
Through the first half, we’re taken to visit how the revolutionist has to walk on thorns if he decides to mould the society’s behaviour. This portion, although necessary and paves way to the latter part, is dragged and feels longer than what it is.
In the latter part, as Lakshmikant nears his goal, enters Pari (Sonam Kapoor), a beautiful, intelligent and compassionate woman who becomes an indispensable of Lakshmikant’s journey. How a fresh MBA and a deserving candidate of a fat-paying corporate job leaves many prospects and sets off on a mission to help village women and spread health awareness on menstruation, is empowering, to say the least. BUT! Why would Bollywood necessarily instill romantic equations whenever we have a woman and a man playing equally crucial parts in the story’s development? That part feels not only forced, but also cliched.
Other than that, ‘PadMan’ is purely a testimony of a man’s journey from nothing to contentment; solely banking upon on his own desires of bringing about positive changes and helping them sustain. If you ignore a few exaggerations (and I fear I don’t have takers for saying this), it is an inspiring film and could create positive impacts. Decently shot by P.C. Sreeram and rightly complemented with soundtracks composed by Amit Trivedi, it features noticeable performances from both Radhika Apte and Akshay Kumar; and not to forget, a fluent Sonam Kapoor in a short yet pivotal role.
Watch ‘PadMan’ to encourage more films that talk about REAL problems; more real than fairytale love stories. Even the real love stories are tested with bad times, remember? Like that of Lakshmikant and Gayatri.
Author’s Note: My first ever day as a menstruating girl? ‘Congratulations’ from mom, and a huge bowl of Mishti Doi after dinner.
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