Padman review: Akshay Kumar Proves to be real Super Hero

Director R Balki has tried his best to present the story of a man called Arunachalam Muruganantham, who braved all odds to ensure his wife gets a healthy and long life, giving India its very own ‘PadMan’.

Akshay Kumar plays the hero (renamed Lakshmi) and Radhika Apte is his troubled wife (renamed Gayatri). Their performances are likable and heartfelt. The plot is set at the backdrop of a village in Madhya Pradesh and we are zoomed into the household where Lakshmi and Gayatri enjoy their new-found marital bliss.

His wife, Gayatri argues as she wonders why her mechanic-husband should fret over a ‘woman’s problem’. She swears by the community’s reeti riwaaz¬†and segregates herself on those five days of the month. It is now the man’s turn to look askance. Lakshmi, too, cannot fathom why sanitary pads are so expensive. Itni Halki cheez ka itna bhaari daam Kyun, he asks the medicine store salesman. The latter has no answer. So Lakshmi resolves to device a way of producing cheaper napkins to prevent the family budget from going haywire and, of course, to protect his wife from harm.

Lakshmi, when he is down and out, receives a fair bit of help from a character that Balki injects into the plot – a talented female tabla player and MBA grad Pari Walia (Sonam Kapoor), who turns her back on the promise of a cushy career to become an active associate of the rural change agent.

His United Nations speech in ‘Linglish’ (ya not English) will make you proud in a funny way.

Lakshmi wins his battle by creating a low-cost sanitary napkins machine not just for his wife but for women in villages, who also get a source of income by working with him. The man clearly shows immense focus and dedication in making every effort count and leaving no stone unturned in bringing a smile on the face of his beloved wife.

Twenty years ago, Arunachalam Muruganantham thought it lamentable that his wife Shanthi and all the women in his community had to rely on dirty rags when they got their periods because sanitary pads were absurdly overpriced. So he did something about it, developing a low-cost machine for making the pads and evangelizing for their use all across the country, instituting a revolution in feminine hygiene, ending the toxic masculine culture of silence and disapproval.

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