We finally saw the movie Padman over the weekend and to be honest, it is one of the best Indian movies I have seen to date. This movie is inspired from the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham. Not a lot of directors would make a movie about this subject. However, it really shows that Indian cinema is evolving. Everything about the movie is just right – Akshay Kumar’s acting, direction of R Balki, the punchlines in the movie, the intro and the title song and the best part of the movie is the speech that Akshay Kumar gives before the United Nations. The speech is inspired by the Ted Talk which was given by Mr. Arunachalam and which I have viewed a couple of times before the movie came out, thanks to my wife. One day she just asked me about this guy and told me to listen to his talk on TedX. I was like why would I want to listen to a guy talk about sanitary pads. But once I listened to his speech, I was completely blown away. I am including the speech in this link for anyone who wants to listen.
Before marriage, I kind of knew about the “5 day” test match (term coined in the movie) that a woman goes through. But being raised in a society where such discussions don’t really happen – I wasn’t really aware of what a lot of women in our country go through. I used to observe that my mom wouldn’t open the temple doors when she was in those days and always used to wonder what is so impure about this. I have even questioned her a couple of times about this and her response has always been ” that’s the way it is”. A lot of women will not enter the kitchen during those days and again I couldn’t and still don’t understand the reasons behind this.
A lot of stigma is still associated when a woman enters her “chums” and this movie does a great part in addressing the hygiene part of it. A lot of women still use rags or old cloth etc. instead of sanitary pads and thus invite disease for themselves. Hopefully after watching this movie, and identifying that there are low cost options available, some of these women would switch over to sanitary pads for better health reasons.