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Akshay Kumar: Sanitary Pads should be sold free of cost for our women

Actor Akshay Kumar who was last seen in the highly successful socially relevant film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ is all set to create magic on the silver screen with his upcoming Bollywood film Padman. Padman is a story based on real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham. The film has actresses Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor playing pivotal roles alongside Akshay. Directed by filmmaker R. Balki and produced by Twinkle Khanna, Padman will release on 26th of January 2018.

In an interactive session with Cinespeaks, Akshay Kumar speaks about the film.

Q: Share your life experiences associated with the term ‘Menstruation’?
Akshay: Menstruation is totally a natural phenomenon. It is not a taboo anymore in our country. It is extremely unfortunate to see that around 82% of women in our country aren’t educated about it. As a society, we have always had this topic brushed under the carpet. Majority of women in rural areas doesn’t have access to sanitary pads and they therefore resort to practices which are unhealthy and unsafe. So, it is very unfortunate. As an individual, I too was not aware of this phenomenon earlier as I never had any conversations with my family.

Q: What made you take up this project ‘Padman’?
Akshay: The story of Arunachalam Muruganantham inspired me immensely. He has an excellent motto – “Women Stronger, Country Stronger”. I really liked this about him. His efforts in developing low cost sanitary pads for his wife is a proof that how much he loved him. When I came to know about his work, I felt that this story deserves to be told and I should produce it with my wife.

Q: How was the experience of meeting Arunachalam Muruganantham?
Akshay: It was amazing meeting him. I learnt and discovered a lot of things from him. Initially, he was very hesitant to talk to me. When I made efforts to speak with him, he clarified that he doesn’t like talking to men much because they are very in understanding things. So, I think we men should buck up (laughs…).

Q: How much menstrual awareness is important in the society today?
Akshay: It is very much important. The suffering that women go through during the menstruation phase is painful. They are not allowed to enter into the kitchen and cook food. Their entry to temples is restricted. Girls run away from schools because they are teased. They are constantly under pressure because of people around them. It is really a hell like situation for the women. So, awareness is important at school as well as at home level.

Q: Did you not find it challenging to put this subject in front of the audience?
Akshay: I really did not find it challenging. I found it to be natural. I think the people should come out and speak about such topics in the open.

Q: Salim Khan had once said – “Akshay Kumar is the only actor who has constantly invented himself with varied roles and will surely be ahead of his contemporaries in the years to come.” What is your take on this?
Akshay: I am really happy to hear this from such an esteemed person from the industry. I don’t think there are predefined rules and regulations in the industry for a film to be a hit. There isn’t any formula to make a hit film. As an actor, I always maintain uniqueness in my characters. Post Padman, I will play an antagonist opposite Rajinikanth in 2.0. So, I try to keep a different flavour and match between my films.

Q: What is the status of Ghulshan Kumar biopic?
Akshay: The film is being written. It is in the developmental stage.

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