PadMan. Honestly I was too skeptical after Balki’s last 2 attempts Shamitabh and of course Ki & Ka. It was a tad disappointing after so much was spoken after Cheeni Kum and Pa. But being associated with Lintas and the man himself, the emotional part got better of me and I braved myself to watch his latest. And he didn’t disappoint me at all…
Besides depicting the journey of social activist Arunachalam Muruganatham, PadMan breaks the menstrual taboo which remains prevalent through much of the country. Without wasting much time on the build-up, Balki gets straight to the point in the movie. Lakshmikant (portrayed by Akshay) is a loving husband, who cannot see his wife in any kind of problem and would go to any extent to make things better for his life partner, Gayatri (played by Radhika Apte).
Soon things turn upside down in their lives as Lakshmi notices how his wife is ostracized from the house during “that time of the month.” His concerns for Gayatri rise when he sees her using a dirty cloth to clean the menstrual blood. Thereafter, he promises himself that he will not let that happen to his wife and brings a disposable sanitary napkin for her. However, Gayatri is against the idea of using it because of its high cost. What happens next is Lakshmi’s inspirational journey that sees him become “something” from nothing.
The way Balki has used humor in the film to say is appreciable. However, the film does get repetitive at times but only for us to realize that change doesn’t come easy. Instead of Coimbatore, the native place of Muruganatham, Balki chooses a more central part of India as the backdrop for his film. However, the Banaras Ghats could have been shot from multiple angles to give a better impression of the beautiful locales of the city.
Rather than ending the awkward silence around menstruation, PadMan throws up forbidden topics for discussion and also questions the notion of masculinity even as Lakshmikant asks “Ek aurat ki hifazat karne mein nakamayab insaan apne aapko mard kaise keh sakta hai?”
With an incredible amount of support by Radhika Apte’s Gayatri in the first half and by Sonam Kapoor’s Pari in the latter, Akshay is great in portraying Lakshmi. He is honest, determined and, most importantly, insulated from typical societal norms. I now suddenly have realised what an underrated actor Akki is in the industry.We go gaga over the khans and Kapoor’s whereas this man comes, delivers and moves on with his next…His versatility is amazing to the kind of roles he does and gets in to the skin of the character..Whilst watching a film the eyes are automatically and inevitably drawn to him, but Sonam and Radhika’s characters successfully manage to make their presence felt.
Amit Trivedi’s composition is soulful and soothing, thanks to his ability to infuse the rich textures and sounds of Indian folk music with drum beats and guitars. Kudos to R Balki for making Akshay Kumar a “superhero” in the true sense.Period…