For many generations, menstruation has been a topic that has been talked about only in hush-hush voices. These are "those days of the month" when you snap at a guy, and he asks you, "PMS-ing?"
Those days, when your grandmom scolds you for touching a jar of pickle. Those days, when you can't sit straight without getting the I-am-going-to-die cramps. Those days, when you are handed sanitary pads carefully wrapped in a black polythene bag. Those days, when you panic because you have to get a sanitary pad out of your bag and carry it to the washroom; because: male colleagues.
Yes, those days aren't easy to deal with. Let alone talking about them. And who could have ever thought that a taboo topic like menstruation would make it to the big screen; let alone Bollywood's Khiladi Kumar playing the lead!
But Twinkle Khanna, along with R Balki, made it possible. The two collaborated to bring to the big screen the story of Arunachalam Murugantham, the man who invented a machine which can produce cheap sanitary napkins. Pad Man not only celebrates the story of man who worked selflessly to spread awareness about menstrual hygiene among women in small towns and villages, but also talks about the taboo associated with the subject.
Picking up a topic like this for a film was indeed risky. But going by the numbers at the box office, it looks like the risk has paid off. After a slow start at the box office on Friday (February 9), the film picked up during the weekend, thanks to the word-of-mouth publicity.
Within four days of its release, Pad Man has already earned Rs 45 crore, and is slowly inching towards the Rs 50-crore mark at the domestic box office. The film's success is proof that the Indian audience is opening up to a topic like menstruation.
If Akshay's Pad Man challenge was a hit on social media, more and more people are thronging to the theatres to watch Balki's directorial venture.
Talking about why he chose to do the film, Akshay Kumar told India Today Television, "Nobody wants to talk about it. They think it's a taboo thing. They think unki izzat kam ho jayegi (they will lose respect) if they even speak about it. It's high time that we brought it in front of everyone."
Akshay added that he hasn't made the film to earn profits. That he wanted to spread awareness and wanted more people to talk about it.
"I have not made this film from a commercial angle. I know that many people would resist watching it, and won't allow their family to see it too. But I would still dare to make that film. One day, they will be quietly watching it and that this film is very essential for the happiness and hygiene of their family," said Akshay.
Not many would have thought that a film like Pad Man would get a reception like this from the audience. But going by the great numbers at the box office, it seems more people are ready to talk about periods, and take their families to watch a film that talks about menstrual hygiene.
Going by the film's success, it looks Akshay, Twinkle and Balki have managed to achieve what they wanted to with Pad Man.
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