Padding Up: Akshay spreads the message in Pune


“Tax-free nako, GST nako – completely free pahije!” That was Akshay Kumar promoting his PadMan message to hundreds of cheering fans in Marathi – it was Pune after all, and he knows well enough to deliver his message in just the right way! The actor-producer of PadMan, based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man behind the world's first low-cost machine for making sanitary napkins, shared a picture from the event. He captioned it, “Talking periods and breaking taboos at the Lokmat event today. #PadManInPune gets a crazy welcome!” No exaggeration there; the crowds did go crazy as he demanded that “every woman in India should have a pad throughout the year, throughout her lifetime.”

To hear Akshay speak of the film, it has gone beyond a mere film promotion – he’s looking to change age-old mind-sets. “I am already victorious with millions and millions of people talking about PadMan on social media, men discussing with other men and asking each other whether they watched the PadMan trailer and that it talks about sanitary pads. I am glad they are talking, they should know,” he said during a media interaction.

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He’s smashing myths quite effectively. “Firstly, do not call it a sensitive issue. It (menstruation) is a natural process of a human body. It is time to get rid of those taboos attached to it and it is time to treat the issue maturely. Also, women should not shy away from talking about the issue and certainly should not whisper about it,” he declared.

Pointing out that India is mocked for its backward ideas about women’s hygiene, he shared, “Women told me that they used mud, burnt ash and dirty cloth to manage bleeding. It was shocking, it was horrifying. I met some foreigners and they laughed at us wondering we didn’t know what a sanitary pad was. PadMan is an important film for our country. Nobody has ever made a film on this issue. Even in documentaries that I saw, sanitary pads are always hidden… Too many girls end up dropping out of school because they don’t have supplies to manage their periods,” he said.

Really is something of a superhero, isn’t he, our Mr Kumar!