- Navneel Maji – Movie Critic
The movie is about a man, a husband, a college-dropout from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu who is the inventor of the low-cost sanitary pad-making machine: Arunachalam Muruganantham and the issue of menstrual hygiene itself. In 2016, the government of India awarded him Padma Shri for this extraordinary feat and following the invention, now, in India, 23 of 29 states have such machines.
Despite such an incredible innovation and market demand, he would not sell that to a big corporation, as the whole point of it is to have cheap pads available to the rural places. For such a noble task, he had to face sharp criticism from the village he was living in and from in-laws. He became the laughing stock of the village when he started his mission and again when he refused to sell his idea for crores. In his words, “I don’t want to make this as a corporate entity. I want to make this as a local sanitary pad movement across the globe.”
Now coming to the film, it has not done a total justice to the accomplishment of the real “Pad Man”. Akshay Kumar’s character Lakshmikant who does his role have totally caricatured his personality to make it impossible at times, almost forgetting that he is a real person. The journey through which he had to go was not easy, and the breadth and depth of the struggle were covered so little that it only showed that the movie was intended to be a feel-good one.
The annoying display of the broken English in the U.N (totally not like a unique style with which Arunachalam delivers), just for filling the narrative sake many scenes are loosely put without any imagination or creativity like the talk of dirty rags, the risk of infection, buying it would mean cutting down the family’s milk budget. Added to that was a horrible love interest between Lakshmikant and a tabla -player (done by Sonam Kapoor), made it by the end a totally ridiculous.
Sonam Kapoor probably had the worst intro of her career – playing the table in the concert, that too offbeat surely. Looking at the movie streaks that Akshay is on, the intention behind his ‘team’ (whosoever those are) is to make him look like Social-cause Messiah on the screen. People should not be too surprised to see him taking steps into politics following film celebrities like Kamal Hasaan and Rajnikanth. For all those who would like to have a real taste of how fascinating the person is, there is the documentary made on him called ‘Menstrual Man’ and him-inspired film ‘Phullu’.