wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
As much a story of tender care, as it is a story of social good and dealing with taboo. Worth a watch – for the avoidable struggle a common man went through because of the many social factors – even if not on the big screen.Read more
When a friend told me of Arunachalam Muruganantham, I remember being in awe. Just the entire concept was as unexpected as it was amazing. Not only was a man trying to figure menstruation out but he was from the interiors of India where most likely touching a menstruating lady is culturally disallowed, let alone discussing periods.
Today, six years later, in an era when a lot of women complain about insensitivity from their men, especially when it comes to menstruation and related issues, Arunachalam truly seems like a superhero. But, his story would have remained in some nook of media, if it weren’t for the star value given to it by Akshay Kumar.
Is Akshay Kumar the best person to play this role? Most likely not. Is it great that he is playing it? I’d say, yes. Anything that brings the subject into public discourse is good. If it is done by a public figure, I won’t complain.
Sure, it is disheartening that a woman’s cause needs a man as a saviour. But, it is a film based on a true story. And it was a man who disrupted the period industry. So, that’s how life played out. I find it befitting that credit be given where it’s due. That leaves the argument that would a woman who took up this cause receive such recognition - should, but most likely wouldn’t. Maybe a filmmaker will see this injustice too and Padman will pave the way for all those women who have taken up great causes but have not seen their work gain momentum.
As far as the movie goes, save for the fact that it is directed by R. Balki, I don’t think it’ll be any better or worse than Toilet – Ek Prem Katha. In fact, there is a slight chance that star power will overshadow the real man’s work and/or the issue at hand. Even so, whether or not I like the film, here’s sending more power to such enablers.
Padman releases on 9 February, 2018.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Of course, Padman is about a man who cared for the well-being of his wife and sisters. But it would be unfair to think of Padman as just a “period” film. It is as much about rural India, superstitious India, an India that finds breaking away from tradition worse than a death sentence. And I am sure this is true of many countries, not just this one. Societies with families that find it difficult to finance basic needs, but spend that and more on faith – must surely exist outside India too. So even as Padman is about changing the way in which women manage their menstrual flow, it’s reach is far beyond the boundary of this country and the topic of menstruation.
I was waiting for Akshay Kumar to burst into a know-it-all, holier-than-thou monologue. But thankfully, they ducked that one.
I am glad that Arunachalam Muruganantham took up the onus of making affordable sanitary napkins. I am certainly glad there are being films made on the man, his zeal, his persistence, and his invention. And I am equally glad that it got star-backing from Akshay Kumar in Padman. Let alone boys and men, if the film changes the attitude of even a handful of girls and women towards menstruation from the “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” to that of, “baah, what’s the big deal”, it is a success – irrespective of box office status. Yes, there are women today who speak about periods much more liberally than when I was growing up. But we are hardly enough. This shocking indicator cannot be repeated enough – only 12% of Indian women use sanitary napkins.
As far as the film goes, you can tell that the writing and direction are trying very hard to keep things light. Be it Laxmikant’s (Akshay Kumar) sense of humor or Sonam Kapoor’s bright smile and breezy presence. If that’s what it takes to reach a larger audience, so be it.
I was caught off-guard by Akshay Kumar’s performance. From the beginning, he just came across as the simple-minded, progressive villager he is supposed to be. Sonam Kapoor as Pari, Laxmikan’t enterprise partner, fit in well too. In contrast though, Radhika Apte (Laxmikant’s wife) looked a little out of place. Her shame, her helplessness, her concern for the family budget all came across as rather functional, if not superficial.
This though is not the actor’s fault. She isn’t the focus of the writing. Neither is Laxmikant. Sure, the other characters are all in relation to him, as in his wife, his partner, his friend, his mother, his sisters, yet he is not the focus. The focus is clearly the story, or to take it a level further – the invention and the social milieu that called for the invention. From financial deprivation to money-and-fame driven attitude, from societal pressure of what’s appropriate and what’s not to a take on faith and religion – everything in Padman revolves around the invention. So, even though the film points at all these issues, it is still a lot about how to make an affordable sanitary napkin, to the extent that at some point I felt like I am taking a repeated, factory tour of a sanitary napkin machine shop. This did get a little repetitive and tedious after a while. And of course, for a film that addresses social taboo around menstruation, it defeated the purpose that “the stain” was still taboo. That’s when you remind yourself that, that’s real life. Despite these issues though, it is good to see this tender, caring, determined man’s road to discovery.
I am not sure the extent to which the film sticks to the events of the true life story, but from this TED talk by Arunachalam Muruganantham, the first half looks like it has largely stuck to actuals. Of course, there is the unfathomable move from Tamil Nadu to Madhya Pradesh. Maybe it was to keep things politically correct, who knows? The love angle is another question mark the film left me with. The especially broken English that Laxmikant delivers his speech in, is another one of those cinematic liberties that the film could have done without. Instead it would have been a nice touch to show how the man was approached for the film. But, I guess that would be called chest-thumping. It’s amusing that a film that revolves around the social fatigue of “what will people say?” can’t show a bit of reality because of “what people will say”.
On the other hand, Padman has refrained from some common Hindi film traps. For instance, from 20 minutes into the film, I was waiting for Akshay Kumar to burst into a know-it-all, holier-than-thou monologue. But thankfully, they ducked that one. I guess, it helps that real life isn’t about preachy speeches.
The focus is clearly the story, or to take it a level further – the invention and the social milieu that called for the invention.
As with many films based on true-lives, especially those that inspire and have a social cause at the core – it is difficult to separate the cause and the personality from the film. And thus comes the inevitable question – is it enough for us to know about such a life? Or has the film been able to take the public discourse a step further? Will my teenage son and daughter talk more openly about periods with each other; with their friends of the opposite gender? Are they more sensitized? Will you and I consider giving our domestic help a pack of the ironically named “Whisper” with their salary? Will we hide the pack as we give it? Does it cross social boundaries if you almost force them to talk about periods uninhibitedly as we would have our kids talk? This last question, I am sure, is for another film.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...And Balki never loses sight of the fact that what he’s making isn’t an Oscar-bait biopic but a rousing audience-pleaser. There are fantastic “mass” moments. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...The film belongs to Akshay Kumar. Make no mistake about that. Playing Laxmikant with a mixture of inbuilt ingenuity and curiosity he makes the man believable and endearing, so compassionate and inspiring. As Laxmikant Chauhan/Arunachalam Muruganantham, Akshay Kumar’s rousing speech at the UN is the showreel that will be shown when he gets his first lifetime achievement award. In the meanwhile, do reserve every single acting honour of 2018 for this performance. ... full review
Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, PAD MAN is a brave and an inspirational attempt at creating a commercial cinema out of a taboo topic. The movie scores high on content as well as emotions. At the box office, Akshay Kumar’s mass appeal will surely help to pull in the audiences. It has the potential to grow steadily at the box-office with the positive word-of-mouth. Period. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Tushar P. Joshi, Bollywood Life : ...Pad Man deserves a special mention simply because it got made. A subject that’s hushed up even in urban India got a mainstream treatment by a popular actor-director team. And that itself is a reason why a film like this deserves extra attention. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Smita Vyas Kumar , Desi Martini : ...The cinema was full of men watching the movie and that in itself is a good thing. Change can happen in small doses and if the dose is entertaining its worth your time. Period. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Aashish, Desi Martini : ...PadMan is funny and amusing throughout while it also educates the masses about the importance of menstrual hygiene and women empowerment. The film refers to the elephant in the room without discomforting the viewers as people are still afraid to talk about these topics in the open. R Balki has made a film that not only entertains but also educates the people. It is neither too preachy like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha nor overtly dramatic like PK. The only glitch is the unneeded romantic plot which could have been avoided (won’t spoil it for you). The film is a perfect ode to empowering women which will, in turn, empower India. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...Padman is for those who care for good cinema and believe in the positivity of life. Do not miss it. Bollywood has sent in a huge apology for the largely drab January with this one movie to all of us. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Dev Raj Gulati, Desi Martini : ...The outstanding shades ? The theme is socially relevant.Local low cost production of sanitary napkins is the need of the hour.It's door to door sale through the beneficiaries themselves generates employment.One must shun superstitions and instead empower women.Productivity increases ith the use of high quality pads. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Chaya Unnikrishnan, DNA : ...But that doesn't take away from the fact that a film which could have been uncomfortable and embarrassing is anything but that. Go watch it with your family. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...For those who’re thinking if you could connect with the message of Pad Man, trust me you will. Every good thing comes with an expiry date and enjoy this era of Akshay Kumar till it lasts (Hope it’s here for a couple of more decades). The combo of entertainment plus message-driven plot is a rare occurrence and Padman fits the bill. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...This is, in that sense, a very different kinda Balki movie. Pad Man is based on social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham's life, which has already been made into two feature films that we know of - the unreleased I-Pad, and Phullu (2017) - besides a full-length documentary, Menstrual Man (2013). ... full review
Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, NDTV : ...The film ends with a grand speech delivered to the United Nations in a peculiar pidgin English, something Lakshmi winningly calls Linglish. It is a smashing speech, given to us in full, and really puts things in perspective as we see how, without an eye on profit or commerce, this inventor soldiered on to make the world a cleaner place. I loved this stretch because, for once, broken English was not played for laughs but for sincerity, and because Kumar handles it masterfully.... full review
Thumbs up, by Shrishti Nagi, News18.com : ...Amit Trivedi's composition is soulful and soothing, thanks to his ability to infuse the rich textures and sounds of Indian folk music with drum beats and guitars. Kudos to R Balki for making Akshay Kumar a "superhero" in the true sense. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Sharbani Mukherjee, STARDUST : ...A must Watc, take your family n friends along and head to nearest theatre n enjoy the simplicity of this film, which is presented in a lucid at though provioking manner.... full review
Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Known for making films that work towards bridging the age and gender gap, Balki's Padman is an empowering film that gives you the wings, despite the odds. It will free women of their inhibitions and that will be its biggest success. Period! ... full review
Thumbs up, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...As India hurtles ahead to match the developed world, it is only logical that her cinema follows suit. Thus, we need more films that send out a strong social message and don’t brush perceived taboos such as mental health, feminine hygiene, and sex education under the carpet. ... full review
So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Deccan Chronicle : ...Overall, PadMan is watchable for its exceptional subject. Don’t expect it to be a fancy commercial film but is definitely high on emotions. ... full review
So-So, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Akshay Kumar has embodied the spirit of Arunnachalam Murganatham. It's a very sincere effort. His speech towards the end, though long, is straight from the heart. You feel you're watching someone with genuine concern for women and not just an actor going through the paces. ... full review
So-So, by Josh, fullhyd.com : ...But Akshay Kumar grins, weeps and speaks with a feeling that doesn't look like it belongs in this film. There's this one moment where he manages to finally obtain confirmation that he has indeed managed to make a functional sanitary pad, and he's nothing short of lovable there. It is precisely this lovableness that made us breeze through Padman, and will likely ensure that you do, too. ... full review
So-So, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...While Radhika disappears into the naive, blindfolded woman who believes “auraton ke liye sabse badi beemari hai sharam”, Akshay tries his best to be the superhero he has come to be identified with in his films. Only, Akshay’s accent and tone often fluctuate between those of a villager, a person with the basic knowledge of English and someone who is educated enough to differentiate between American and British accents. Sonam plays a privileged South Delhi girl and fits perfectly into the role. She also gets to mouth some of the best comebacks directed at Akshay in the film. ... full review
So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...Padman is sanitised and sweet, and its message is not just to encourage the use of sanitary pads, but that with the right motivation, imagination and a whole lot of patience you can solve problems with ingenuity ... full review
So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...The film ticks every question it hopes to raise — if every female goes through it, why should it lead to embarrassment or even taint one as 'apavitra'? But it barely alters the squeamish attitude many hold against the routine discomfort biologically assigned to all womankind. And this is where R Balki slips. It was a noble cause for sure, if only the makers would have soaked up some of the melodrama. ... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...In the end PadMan is admirable and has its heart in the right place, but it might have benefited from a less sermonizing tone. I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five. ... full review
So-So, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...The film is socially relevant so critics will be careful when offering critique. And even though it has a stellar star cast, this film could go straight to TV to actually reach rural women. But the second half is worth the two and a half stars it has earned. ... full review
So-So, by Sreehari Nair, Rediff : ...A movie like PadMan, progressive in its pitch but with nothing else to sustain it, settles the issue of our liberals taking their good taste too seriously. For this is not truly a liberal world if we keep searching for alternatives to regressive ideas in an R Balki film.... full review
So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...In reality, the movie contains no astonishment or surprise. But in proceeding exactly as depicted by the trailer, Pad Man proves that sometimes, the message is far more important than the way in which it has been communicated.... full review
So-So, Times Now : ...PadMan has its heart in its right place, and that, along with its subject, is its biggest USP in winning over the viewers. However, the movie needs to have more than just a 'heart' and a strong subject; and this is where PadMan, overall, falters. But I would still recommend the movie for its frank discussion on what is regarded as a taboo subject in many parts of our country, told in a very conventional (too conventional, I must say) manner. ... full review
yoonmindad: padman was so fucking good omfg 11/10 recommend to watch
whomanavmehta: Loved #Padman @mrsfunnybones @akshaykumar @sonamakapoor @radhika_apte
VishvasSapkal: What a brilliant movie!! #Padman ;
VipinRa44802961: #Padman Awesome movie ... Love you @akshaykumar sir....
vijchdr: #Padman awesome acting /fantastic movie #pad @sonamakapoor @akshaykumar
vaibs222: Loved the movie #Padman, must be made compulsory viewing across India.
UmeshPrem74273: Super move PADMAN @akshaykumar Love you sir
TRIDEB8: my feedback.awesome movie Padman @akshaykumar
ThakorChaitanya: #Padman Suppeer Se Uppeerr...
tathyama: PADMAN Again. Akshay Kumar gave his best . Balki Sahab salute .
SUMITSINSINWAR: Watch Padman With ur Family and must Share ur experience Great work by Akki ( Akshay Kumar )
stutish74205303: #Padman is an exceptional film. Best one is “Mother strong, sister strong, wife strong so my country strong”. A must watch for indian men.
SNagasubramani: Padman film!! Superb! Fantastic! Every one should watch the film!! Akshay Kumar done a very great job! Very much inspiring!
Shiv_aur_ram: #Padman A wonderful movie. The Hindi setting will increase reach. But a love triangle & only 3 seconds credit to the real guy? Come on!!
shilpafan01: An outstanding movie #Padman
Sharanyashettyy: I loved the movie. Right social message with entertainment.. @akshaykumar @mrsfunnybones have done a fantastic job. #Padman
ShaanAKFan: Sir good morning.. Akki sir.. PADMAN flim jabardast hai.. Yea ek revolution layega.. @akshaykumar
SatyamSinghLov2: Nice work done by akki in padman movie proud on indian actor @akshaykumar
Salil5555: Must Watch. #Padman
Rushikeshvinay3: Padman bahut achi film hai
raishivam1012: Watched #Padman . Inspiring movie. India should be 100% pad using women country. @akshaykumar @mrsfunnybones
purvasawant: Please watch #PadMan! It’s so good. Brilliant story and performances.
pritisahanipari: ये फिल्म नहीं क्रांति है ☝️ PADMAN is a noble masterpiece
Pritesh95: स्ट्रांग मैसेज देती है 'पैडमैन', जरूर देखनी चाहिए. Proud of @akshaykumar & PADAMN TEAM.***** Great initiative!
PrashantGulwade: Padman is best film of year I just watched it it's great film of year must get award and it is super hit all Indian please watch it
Prab_tw: #ArunachalamMuruganantham A man changed the lives of women across India, an inspiring real life tale #Padman #MustWatch #IfYouCareBeAware
NavdhaD: I love Akshay kumar! Padman is such a fantastic movie guys plz go watch and take the ladies with you!
mukhopadhyayt: Padman ... brilliantly motivating. Go watch it.
mehrank341: Watched padman what a movie sir wish i could hug u and said thank you for making such a movie brilliant
MehekMahtani: #Padman worth more than a cursory dekho!
maujar_mishra: Bhai Movie ho to aisi padman jaisi. One word superrrrrrrrrrr... @akshaykumar
kritz143: Wow ! Such a brilliant effort by the team #Padman..!! I found it a privilege for myself to watch this movie !
jinxshah248: #PadMan Padman is akki best performance till date.. Captivating story line.. And special mention to sonam kapoor and radhika apte#Padman
jaiveer555: Change the taboo. Great Movie Great Message #padman #AkshayKumar #SonamKapoor . Why to feel guilt if you bleed its natural :)
iamsharad98: Excellent Movie #Padman @akshaykumar Nailed it.
iamKaustubhY: #Padman : what a movie. Exceptional Outstanding
HSrivastava186: #Padman is a must must see. @akshaykumar is a superhero. Felt so bad for @sonamakapoor's character Pari
gourabkundu: Loved #Padman Brilliantly made. Some melodrama (read Sonam Kapoor) notwithstanding- a must watch! The right education through art
Gautampaul20: padman is very lovely movie @akshaykumar Sir
gaurav_shamaan: The crowd was clapping in cinema theatre after the end of Padman. Second time I watch this after OMG.
GarvitBeriwal: #superhit #movie #padman #thankyousomuch @akshaykumar sir
D_AkshayGaikwad: watched #PadMan first day first show...great great great movie...love you @akshaykumar sir..
Bhushanadhau1: Padman Tomorrow Again 2nd Time
bgmahesh: It may be his lowest opener but he has touched a very important subject
bathparia: Watch Padman, an awesome movie... And the real padman Arunachalam Muruganantham an awesome man....
ashishRKF: #Padman is BRILLIANT BRILLIANT MOVIE , @akshaykumar ur best
arunmalhotra5: Pad man can go to Oscars
arun92401: #PadMan best film seen ever... @akshaykumar sir you are the best
art_lover_09: #Padman is so entertaining. @akshaykumar
anujsarda: Well done @akshaykumar! @sonamakapoor @radhika_apte @mrsfunnybones #Padman
ankursri97: Watch the movie #PadMan specially with your family Heart touching movie Women strong Country strong @akshaykumar @sonamakapoor
Ankitsri1020: #Padman #PadmanReview awesome movie #AkshayKumar brilliant acting and lesson to society
AnjanAwasthi: Watch #PadMan. Make others watch. Pay for someone who needs to watch. Powerful stuff. Needs to go beyond cities.
Aneesha002: Padman- its not just a movie, it's an emotion. @akshaykumar sir - as always you nailed it this time as well. #padman#truestory#amustwatch
Ali_Abbas24: Pad man is a great movie
AjoyNandi8: Super hero pad man ki jai ho
abhishekv766: #PadMan gains momentum
AbhiramTinku: ‘Padman’ is also a movie inspire social entrepreneurship & StartUp
AbdulWaris6: Excellent movie and the best performance, @sonamakapoor @radhika_apte #ashkeykumar #padman
1Uttej: Excellent performances by @akshaykumar @sonamakapoor
___ak50___: Just watched #Padman. One of the best movies of @akshaykumar.
GmaGdm: #Padman Film is ok. Not great. Just an informative documentary... Still ok to watch on TV...
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