The Men behind the "Men-struation" story: PADMAN
Hawwwwwwwww ! Thats the first reaction that many have even in this day and age reading that headline.
Menstruation, Periods, Chums, That-time-of-the-month, the monthly visitor, the-unwanted-hassle, call it what you want, but even today, in the year 2018 us, south asians, balk at the mere mention of the term. And yet, here we are, awaiting the release of a movie about a "Man" who made the "Cost-effective and economical" sanitary pad machine so that all women gain access to sanitary and hygienic means of dealing with their menstruation. The man we are talking about is Arunachalam Muruganantham, whose sensitivities and sensibilities led him to be the social entrepreneur that gave access to women in more than 23 states in India, access to low-cost and hygienic sanitary pads. "It was the love story of this man, who loved his wife so much that he persisted and found a way to help develop something that would help her during her period that I felt compelled to be a part of and tell the world .... ." responds famed actor, Akshay Kumar, when asked by Radio Dehotties about what attracted him to this project. Kumar plays the role of Lakshmikant Chauhan, the reel-life representation of the real-life Muruga in the movie, PADMAN.
"Oh well, but what is the big deal about Kumar playing this role and why does he figure in the title of my post?" you ask. For the most prolific, most adored, most successful actor of Indian Cinema today to come forward himself and break the silence and taboo surrounding the most natural process that is essential to civilization, "menstruation", which even many among us squirm at the very mention of it, is commendable. In this clip that you will see about the making of the song, "Saale Sapne" - you will see how Kumar and Muruga bond over the making of the sanitary pad. One man wore sanitary pads with artificial uterus with animal blood in it to test its efficiency, while the other touched it for the first time, learned to make it, even wore it during the course of this movie and has been talking about it everywhere he goes, encouraging people to stop the "shaming" and misogynistic practice of marginalizing and secluding women during their menstruation. Although the credit for chasing down Muruga and transcribing his life into the character of Lakshmikant Chauhan, "The legend of Lakshmi Prasad" goes to the incredibly talented lady, Mrs. Funnybones, Twinkle Khanna; as she herself points out, "the world has more viewers than readers" and hence the credit also goes to Kumar for taking this "originally small budget" movie and making it, a blockbuster film with his presence. Muruga and Kumar, were both "men-enough" to feel and empathize with what women go through and how it is crucial to create safe and hygienic low-cost options for women across the world, not only in India, where more than 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. How many more such men can relate to and speak of the same ? Kudos to the men behind bringing the menstruation story to the world.