Director: R. Balki
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor & Radhika Apte
Concept: Twinkle Khanna
Screenplay: R. Balki & Swanand Kirkire
Music: Amit Trivedi
Mrs. Funnybones Movies, SPE Films and Kriarj Entertainment’s PAD MAN is based on the true life story of one Arunachalam Muruganantham, who went to be known as the sanitary pad man of India.
The story of PAD MAN follows Laxmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) who has recently gotten married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte). Kumar in his family has a mother, two younger sisters and an elder one who is already married. He stays in a village in Madhya Pradesh and works as a handy man. Kumar is madly in love with his wife and tries to come up with innovative ideas to lessen her burden almost every day. One day when Apte starts her period he realizes that she is using a dirty piece of cloth during this period. Kumar goes to the local pharmacy and realizes that the normal sanitary pad is way too expensive he still buys the same for his wife but she refuses to use it because it is very expensive. Spurred on by this Kumar managed to make a prototype pad which he gives to his wife but she doesn’t find the pad comfortable and hence refuses to wear it anymore. Kumar never gives up but after a few tries things get out of hand and his family decides to leave him and before the village panchayat delivers any diktat Kumar himself leaves the village to better the idea of his pad. In a nearby town he is able to crack the idea and then even make an inexpensive machine as well mass produce the pads but because menstrual hygiene is such a taboo topic he doesn’t get any volunteers for the same. He finally chances on one Pari (Sonam Kapoor) who is an MBA and it because of her eventual push and involvement that Kumar is able to make money from this and more importantly sell the project for a minimal cost. The rest of the story is about Kumar’s triumph and how he wins the respect of his village and the finds the love of his wife once again!
PAD MAN has its heart in the right place. The movie begins on the right note, especially the relationship dynamics between Akshay and Radhika’s characters are very well executed. The initial funny scenes are also very well placed and work a lot. Akshay’s character’s struggle and his white lies make the movie charming and gives a very grounded feel to it. The movie is laced with such a serious issue but the way the writers bring out the human stories around that makes the movie a must watch. The speech Akshay gives at the United Nation is also damn funny and connects with the audiences.
The direction for the movie to go the love triangle way in the third act is surprising and is one of the major issues with the screenplay of the movie. Like Akshay’s last movie TOILET EK PREM KATHA was always marketed as a love story; PAD MAN also tries to achieve that but the makers by adding this forced love triangle make a muddle of it all. The length of the movie is also another issue, especially in the first half when things are repetitive in the screenplay.
Production values are spot on, the movie has a very real look and feel to it. Cinematography by P.C. Sreeram is excellent. Art by Rupin Suchak is also spot on. Music by Amit Trivedi is one of the major highlights of the movie. With songs like Aaj Se Teri and the title track the pick of the lot from the album. Editing by Chandan Arora is effective.
Performance wise, the movie belongs to the sheer brilliance of Akshay Kumar. The actor has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years and his performance in this one is one of his career best for sure. Sonam Kapoor comes in the second half of the movie and is able to add a different dimension to the film with her character. Radhika Apte does a great job as the lead. Cameo by Amitabh Bachchan is also one of the major highlights of the movie. Rest of the cast provides sensational support.
As a director, R. Balki does full justice to the story and is able to get some superlative performances from his leading actors.