Actress and fashionista Sonam Kapoor who was last seen in the most profitable film Neerja (2016) is returning back to the big screen almost after 2 years. Sonam will be seen playing a pivotal role alongside Akshay Kumar in Padman. The film also features actress Radhika Apte. Directed by R. Balki, Padman is inspired from the real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham who made sanitary pads in rural Indian for providing menstrual hygiene to women. Padman is scheduled to release on January 25.
In an interview with Cinespeaks, Sonam Kapoor speaks to us.
Q: Your character in Padman is the only role which is fictional. What is your take on it?
Sonam: I did a film called Bhaag Milkha Bhaag where my character didn’t exist in reality. The whole concept and idea of Padman is inspired from Arunachalam Muruganantham’s story. The spirit of the film is adapted from his story and has been recreated. We officially recreated his story by seeking the necessary permissions from him.
Q: You have been in the biopics genre of late. What gravitated you towards such films?
Sonam: It is not just about biopics. The story has to inspire me. I feel it is important to be a part of films which can advocate a social change. Films like Neerja and Padman are really inspiring and I love the Indian factor of these films. I am really proud of our country’s rich culture and heritage. There are ample stories of women which are inspiring and grounded. So, there has to be that India centric quality which shall resonate with the audience and make them feel proud.
Q: What is your take on the menstrual hygiene and the awareness in our country?
Sonam: It is very disturbing to hear that only 12 percentage of women in our country have access to sanitary pads. It is extremely scary to see how women and girls are treated in rural villages during those 5-8 days of menstruation. They are not allowed to use the common toilets and regular utensils during their menstruation days. Due to unawareness of menstrual hygiene, they use leaves, ash and other awful products which are really unhealthy. It is really disturbing to see rural women being treated as untouchables during their menstruation phase.
Q: Did it take a lot of courage to say yes to a film like Padman?
Sonam: No, I didn’t even think about it. I feel very privileged that I had an amazing education and awareness on such things. I am really grateful to my parents because they have brought me up really well and have never discriminated me for being a girl. I went to a good school where I received good education and good awareness. So, I really didn’t feel scared or hesitant to do a film on periods.
Q: What is your message to the audience who are kind of hesitant to go and watch the film with their families or sisters?
Sonam: Padman is also a love story and not just about menstruation. The efforts which Arunachalam Muruganantham took for his wife to manufacture sanitary pads in itself justifies how much he lover her. I think any extraordinary achievement or creativity comes out of selfless love and emotion. Arunachalam was an uneducated man and yet he was so progressive in his thinking. He made sanitary pads for his wife so that she could have proper menstrual hygiene. So, the film is also about love and pure selfless emotion. I really hope that people will change their mindsets fter watching the film.
Q: When will we see you working with your father (Anil Kapoor)?
Sonam: Very soon. We will come together very soon. Unfortunately, I cannot talk much about it because I have signed an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) with Vidhu Vinod Chopra.