The True Story of “Padman” Inspires

Producer Twinkle Khanna’s portrayal of the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham in the film “Padman” perfectly combines the depiction of a serious social concern with a harrowing story of love, loss and resilience.


Sony Pictures

Actor Akshay Kumar portrays main character Lakshmikant Chauhan on the “Padman” official movie poster. Copy:

Meg Schwartz, Print Co-Editor-in-Chief

Rarely is one film able to seamlessly intertwine its portrayal of the intricate details of a complex social issue with an entertaining and lighthearted storyline.  “Padman,” an Indian film in Hindi with subtitles, produced by Twinkle Khanna and written and directed by R. Balki, does just that.

“Padman” follows the life of Lakshmikant Chauhan, portrayed by Akshay Kumar, who is based on real-life “Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary” Arunachalam Muruganantham, as Chauhan realizes the oppression that his new wife faces for one week each month due to the taboo surrounding menstruation in India and the lack of affordable feminine products.  Chauhan, who works in a workshop, is astounded by the prices of pads in his rural village and the women’s hesitancy to seek more sanitary products. As a result of this, Chauhan sets out to create a product that is both affordable and sanitary.

The backlash that Chauhan faces as a result of his efforts due to the fact that of the villagers all assume that he is perverted or insane realistically portrays the extent of the taboo surrounding menstruation. Kumar’s portrayal is believable and easily appeals to the audience, yet is lacking in realistic emotion as he faces challenges within his marriage and business ventures. His entire journey is not as realistically laid out as certain parts appear to be too good to be true, lacking depth. His acting is only surpassed by Sonam Kapoor’s whose portrayal of Rhea, a celebrity who assists Chauhan in his business is even more convincing.

Bright, beautiful montages of rural and urban Indian landscapes with authentic music are interspersed with serious scenes and the Hindi dialect is translated and easy to read in the closed captions.

At two hours and 20 minutes long, “Padman” is a lengthy film but the length is necessary in order to catch the complex details of Muruganantham’s life.  Towards the middle the movie loses its momentum, but it picks back up by the third quarter.

“Padman” does great justice to the heartwarming story of Muruganantham’s life.  It is a breath of fresh air among dozens of movies in theaters without inspiring messages, and might be more entertaining.