An incredible story of India’s own Superhero
India’s superhero ‘Padman’ gives hope to millions of Indians and inspires them to chase ideas that can bring about a positive change in society. Arunachalam Muruganantham, brilliantly essayed by the versatile Akshay Kumar, is the original hero upon whom the biopic drama is based. He single-handedly invented a low cost sanitary pads machine, providing pads at an extremely affordable price and initiated campaigns across India to spread awareness regarding menstruation and hygiene.
Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar), a welder by profession is a married man who deeply loves his wife Gayatri (Radhika Apte), so much so that he is always on a lookout to make her life better by bringing solutions to her everyday problems. He sees her crying while cutting onions and he comes up with an idea of an inventive contraption machine to do the job. She feels uncomfortable sitting on the backseat of his cycle and he fixes a wooden seat behind. So when he realizes that she uses an unclean cloth during her periods, worried that she might get an infection, he buys sanitary napkins for her. But she, dissuaded by the high price, firmly refuses to use them. Undeterred, a tenacious Lakshmi sets upon a mission to find the solution himself. However, menstruation being a taboo that it is in India, he is met with public humiliation and shame which forces him to leave the village. Pained and hurt by the shame his wife goes through, he resolutely decides to come back with a restored dignity. After countless failures and challenges, his invention finally materializes. A serendipitous meet with a perky and smart city girl Pari (Sonam Kapoor), daughter of an IIT professor, enables him to showcase his innovation to the rest of the world.
Akshay Kumar shines through in his role, bringing out both the comical as well as earnest side of the character. Radhika Apte beautifully supports him. Sonam Kapoor, being her chirpy self, is refreshing in later half.
Sometimes the movie does slide into sermonizing melodrama, but owing to the smooth progression of the narrative and funny moments peppered sufficiently, it quickly comes back on track.
For a film with a social message, it’s a no mean feat to be both entertaining and educative at the same time. But ‘Padman’ manages to score high on both counts. With women’s issues gaining prominence in recent period, this film couldn’t have come out at a more opportune time. There is no shame in discussing about periods, is a message resonated loud and clear by the end, leaving us a tad more, if not wholly, sensitized towards women’s health and menstruation issues.