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An earnest take on feminine hygiene

Angel Rani, DH News Service, Feb 9 2018, 21:30 IST
Akshay Kumar as the sanitary napkin crusader

Akshay Kumar as the sanitary napkin crusader

PadMan

Hindi (U/A)

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor

Director: R Balki

Rating: **


Almost half an hour into PadMan, wife Radhika Apte asks Akshay Kumar: Why are you so trapped between a woman's legs?

He continues to be there for the whole of 2 hours 20 minutes, unabashedly focused on the 5-day monthly "shame" that poor rural women go through. And that's why PadMan is, well, PadMan.

There is not even one scene that strays from the menstrual cycle as our man (modelled on real-life hero Arunachalam Muruganantham) pleads with the women in his life to make the hygienic switch from dirty clothes to sanitary napkins.

And when nobody is willing to try on his version of cheap pads, Akshay buys himself a pink panties and begins his "trial and fail" method. He ends up with a bloodied trousers and there begins his renewed quest for an affordable but leak-proof sanitary pad, that later takes him to the United Nations.

It's a familiar story by now, thanks to the buzz surrounding India's menstrual man. But what makes the movie stand out is the earnestness with which Akshay Kumar goes about this "period" drama like nobody's business.

PadMan falls short on entertainment quotient because it applies its soul and everything else on "chums", a word Akshay happily borrows from management student Sonam Kapoor.

Director R Balki religiously sticks to his subject and it won't be a surprise if PadMan is bracketed just as socially-relevant movie.

Sonam Kapoor makes a late entry, but gives some aha-moments to viewers pining for a break from the gasps of an ever-weepy Radhika Apte.

PadMan elevates Akshay Kumar to another league. He keeps the monthly-problem moments all in place, clearly enjoying his crusader cape, err pad.

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