Movie: Pad Man
Writer/Director: R. Balki
Producers: Twinkle Khanna, Cape Of Good Films, Sony Pictures.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Pad Man, just like almost any other recent film by Akshay Kumar, deals with more than the subject at hand with minor subplots all over the presentation. What makes gliding through those scenes so enjoyable is the curious mind of Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar), who believes that there is a solution to almost any problem, that is, if you think hard enough on it. Pad Man, apart from serving as a tool for educating people about the very sensitive topic of menstrual hygiene, also celebrates those innovative minds who are adamant enough to achieve their set goal even in the face of ridicule, embarrassment, serious life events and, let’s not forget, societal rejection.
The film kicks off with Akshay-Radhika’s love story being sealed with a marriage. And, it is via the very Aaj Se Teri song sequence, Akshay’s love for Gayatri (Radhika’s character) is established. We also understand Akki’s character here. He’s a guy who thinks rationally, questions everything, investigates and looks for the truth, which he sets his mind to uncover no matter what. Soon, it is due to his very curiosity that he learns about what women go through during “that time of the month”, and then eventually stumbles upon a pharmacy where he gets the pad for a price that he (just like us) thinks is outrageous. So, it is his drive to make low-cost sanitary pads, and the need to be someone his wife can be proud of, which fuels the story further. How the relationship between the two comes to a detour will remind you of Akshay’s last social drama, but it doesn’t ruin the fun, as those events are crucial to make you feel for the characters involved.
Another commendable aspect about the film is the way it deals with the topic of menstrual hygiene so sensitively, because, frankly, it is also us who have learned to treat it that way, even though the process is as natural as the sun rising and setting. For this, writer/director R Balki and the team must be given all the possible credits. Amongst the many norms that have been addressed, the one which caught our attention the most was the use of code-words for periods, which is easily suggestive of the taboo that is around it. A very famous one in the movie is the phrase “test-match”, which is playfully used by Akshay as the story reaches its conclusion.
As far as direction goes, it’s picturesque, to say the least. It gives you the vibe of the heartland and the culture-rich country that India is known to be. The beautiful scenery serves as a much-needed distraction, that is, if you can’t deal with the intensity of a particular scene at a particular time.
In the second half, Akshay’s Lakshmikant realizes that there’s a crucial flaw to the first batch of pads that he has made, which leads him to become all the more innovative and eventually the Saale Sapne song sequence, which guides you through the man’s first breakthrough. But, fair warning, the happy story doesn’t begin there at all. Once he gets the perfect pad, a coincidence helps him to test them out, and what follows and what leads him to receive one of the country’s greatest honor is what you must watch in the theatres itself.
Akshay, as he has been in almost all of his recent movies, is pretty earnest. Sonam Kapoor brings in the urban world attitude towards menstrual hygiene beautifully with her role, which, frankly, doesn’t require too much out of her. Soon, you will witness a one-sided love story brewing, which ends beautifully before it gets complicated. Apart from Akshay, Radhika and Sonam’s honest performances, what really drives this film are a series of convenient co-incidences, which, we felt, were crucial, as they smoothly help you to move on from one chapter to the other.
Around the conclusion of the film, Akshay’s character realizes that he has ended up doing more good than he was set out to do, and we think that this film will somewhat have the same fate, that is, if the message of the film is taken in the right spirit.
A must watch!