Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Bollywood's 'menstrual man' movie targets Indian taboo

Finally, a mainstream Bollywood movie that addresses menstruation Before 'PadMan', Came This Docu on the Real Menstrual Man of India
Johnnie Parks | 10 February, 2018, 03:01

"Pad Man", Khanna stressed, is aimed at everyone in the family since the taboo around menstruation is still very much alive in India today. "I just thought the story was remarkable", she told India-West.

Padman is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Murugananthan and is based on the book, The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna. Kumar convinced his wife to turn the story into a feature movie with the goal of improving women's health in India.

Several million more Indian women are now estimated to use sanitary pads thanks to Muruganantham.

Asked how she got the idea to make a film on the subject, the mother of two asserted: "I was doing some research and reading some columns on menstruation when I came across Muruganantham's story". Though based on the life, work, struggles and triumphs of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a simple but singular man from Coimbatore, Pad Man doesn't do him the courtesy of calling its lead character by his name. Akshay Kumar's latest film has somehow managed to attract a good number of audience in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. "I immediately answered him saying, well, I'm here too and drove down to visit him". It opens with an awestruck Sonam Kapoor trying to come to terms with the fact that how can a man be so obsessed with "chumming, ' as menstruation is commonly called. So how could I ever imagine that someone would make a film on such a topic one day?" I think we should reduce the defence budgets and spend that money on such causes. Trade analyst Amod Mehra said: "It is a gentry film so the numbers will get better by word of mouth".

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"This, I think is the biggest achievement of #PadMan...men and women breaking the taboo", Kumar, 50, tweeted of his film. And young men make nasty, sexist remarks about "five day test matches" (I hadn't heard that one before, but I'm sure there are worse epithets for menstruating women). I got my period.

There is much embarrassment attached to discussing matters of female body parts in public, which I guess is natural in a society that puts such premium on a woman's "sharm", "haya", "lajja" (shame) in general, deeming it as her prized ornament. Sonam Kapoor plays a short but vital performance in the film and just adds to the mediocrity part of it rather contributing anything of greatness but a performance can' be deeper than the role itself. "Even Hollywood does not have a single film on sanitary napkins or menstrual hygiene". I'm very fond of her, and she of me.

With Prernaa Arora and Arjun N. Kapoor at the helm of affairs, KriArj is moving ahead at a rapid pace with more than half a dozen films already in different stages of production. "The stigma still exists, and there remains a lack of awareness and facilities, which means girls are still dropping out of school when they start menstruating because they have no access to sanitary towels".

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