Cast: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor
Direction: R. Balki
R. Balki is back to being a Feminist with his male character joining the revolution just like his last hit ‘Ki & Ka’. Akshay Kumar pairs up with Sonam Kapoor for the second time after ‘Thank You’ and has Radhika Apte opposite him for the first time. Loosely based on the life of Arunachalam Murugunatham, ‘PadMan‘ gives India it’s first unconventional superhero in a more realistic set up.
Story: Based in a village in UP, a 10th pass Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte) when he empathizes with the problems his bride faces during her period. He questions the practices of not entering the kitchen or temple and sleeping out of her room while she’s menstruating for 5 days. An innovator by passion, Lakshmikant decides to manufacture a low cost pad all by himself but fails. That’s when he decides make his own sanitary pad manufacturing machine understanding the functionality of the existing ones in the market through internet research. However, he asks his female acquaintances to try on his pads for which his wife leaves him and household ladies get embarrassed of. He moves to Indore to build his desired machine where he meets an MBA student Rhea (Sonam Kapoor) and asks her to try out his first pad. Finding his pad comfortable and extraordinary, she convinces her father to fund Lakshmikant for a innovative technology themed competition. He wins it and gets a price Rs. 2 Lakh from the President Of India. He’s awarded by Amitabh Bachchan. On the journey Rhea falls for Lakshmikant, they also travel internationally where he delivers a lecture. Will his achievements melt the hearts of his fellow villagers? That’s what we are set to find out in this social issue oriented film.
Akshay Kumar proves that he is an underrated performer and can easily strike the right chord in you to invoke a sense of responsibility to do and be better. Despite his super stardom its startling to see him comfortably try on a pad and a pink underwear for a scene. His performance shall help the message reach to the most rigid men out there. He even plays his age by letting his grey’s be uncovered. Having said that, maybe Akshay should be taking a break from these social message oriented films because it’s getting a tad bit repetitive.
Radhika Apte is a great performer. She moulds herself into her characters with perfection, however, while she tries to get the UP accent right you feel her native Marathi touch to her dialogues. Ignoring that, she gives a stellar performance in convincing of being a hesitant wife.
Sonam Kapoor does the required job. If you’re having great expectations from her after ‘Neerja’, she may not give you another path breaking performance but brings the girl-next-door vibe well to her character. She almost wears no make up which may not have been required. Her role is quite significant.
Amitabh Bachchan definitely uplifts the film with his cameo and speech. Leaves you moved!
Music and Dialogues: Music by Amit Trivedi does good for the subject that it deals with, but there is no song really that you’ll be humming apart from the romantic track ‘Aaj Se Meri’ sung by Arijit Singh. Dialogues in the movie feel borderline filmy but the monologues from Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar are worth a standing ovation.
Direction: R. Balki’s ‘PadMan’ has one clear agenda, to break the taboo around mensural health and it does it’s job well. Coming from the school of Balki’s cinema, this may not be his best film but definitely not the worst. The film is preachy and there’s not much scope of entertainment through comedy, unlike Akshay’s previous film ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’. The first half of the film is gripping and one of the high points of the film come then and there way before the interval, the second half may feel dragged but an empowering climax makes up for it. Overall, Balki makes a documentary out of this story.
One cringe-worthy sequence is the kiss between Sonam Kapoor and Akshay Kumar which was unnecessary. This short spun love angle, which Lakshmikant doesn’t seem to have a problem, contradicts with the initial plot of the story starting out as a love story between the husband and wife.
The cinematography didn’t seem to have much scope.
Cinespeaks Verdict: ‘PadMan’ has to be watched for educating every person whether a male or female that mensuration is a very natural phenomenon and we don’t need to shy away from it. Few flaws, less entertaining but a very strong message. Cinespeaks gives the film 3 stars.