Gender bender, social entrepreneurship is at the heart of PadMan

Published On: February 10, 2018 04:40 PM NPT By: Pratik Rana

KATHMANDU, Feb 10: By nature, Laxmi (Akshay Kumar) seems to be very innovative and creative. It is this quality that makes him gain trust among his customers in his grill workshop. Not just that, Laxmi, newly married to his wife, Gayatri (Radhika Apte) is a doting husband.

Few months into marriage, Laxmi comes to know that his wife was maintaining poor menstrual hygiene and he is increasingly concerned. To maintain hygiene during his wife's periods, Laxmi goes to buy sanitary pads from medical store. However, when his wife sees the price tag, Rs. 55, Gayatri is aghast and she cautions that such unnecessary spending in sanitary pad would add burden to their finances.

It is then that Laxmi thinks of an alternative; an affordable sanitary pad. It is then that PadMan's story takes shape of social entrepreneurship where Laxmi devises technology to produce affordable sanitary pads, especially for his wife and the likes.

However, with all innovations, there are its obstacles and Lamxi rightly goes through it. Yet, where there is a will, there ought to be a way. Laxmi learns from his trial and errors, challenges gender stereotype to eventually accomplish his aim—an affordable sanitary pad that women from his poor community can use. 

Yet, Laxmi is battered as neither his wife nor his family or the society is supportive. Instead, the society conspires to send Laxmi out of his society. His wife goes back to her maternal home and Laxmi, with his dreams heads to another village where he meets Pari (Sonam Kapoor). 

Sonam's name (Pari) in the movie and the introduction of the character itself is symbolic as it pushes Laxmi to find his way to success through support and as a savior. Despite Laxmi's poor education background, it is innovation and creativity that helps him invent a pad manufacturing machine. 

Gayatri and Pari reflect how societies can shape and reshape perspectives and confines individuals within its limits. Gayatri comes from a rural setting where talking of menstruation is a taboo whereas Pari comes from the city, comparatively open and expressive.  

The film is a must see as it raises contemporary issues. Akshay Kumar makes the audience baffled by his almost real-like portrayal in the movie. Sonam and Radhika have equally acted their parts naturally.  

"Padman is a story based on a life of Arunanchalam Muruganantham who invented a machine to make sanitary pads at low cost when he found his wife using rags and newspaper during her periods." Muruganantham who accidently turned into a social entrepreneur also created an employment opportunity to the rural women.The movie is produced by Twinkle Khanna and directed by R. Balki.


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