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PADMAN - A fine, educating docu-drama that ideally should be seen taking the family along. (Review by Bobby Sing)

12 Feb, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / P

In a country like India, where a lot still needs to be done in the field of education and medication, where people still follow sickening traditional rituals related with women in particular and where ‘periods’ are still considered to be a shameful taboo subject……, informative and educating films certainly need to be made and Stars should ideally support such projects making their own contribution in the movement leading from the front.
So from that point of view, PADMAN is a praiseworthy project supported by one of the present Bollywood icon Akshay Kumar, coming up with an immensely valuable message for the entire nation, especially the younger generation.
However as a cinematic experience, it has somehow equal number of pluses and minuses, resulting in a just fine biographical film, described in the following two heads.
Where it works!
PADMAN works in its core purpose of delivering the crucial message about ‘Menstrual Hygiene’ and the need of low priced Sanitary Pads in the country. As a film it successfully pulls you in with its simplicity, dialogues and a certain shock value in its initial hour with more than one engaging sequence showcasing Akshay’s sincere effort to make a sanitary pad (particularly the one, where he himself wears a pad that fails to serve the purpose).
Based on the story of Twinkle Khanna, completely (and officially) inspired from the amazing innovative achievements of Arunachalam Muruganantham, also known as India's "Menstrual Man", the film never makes you realize that you are watching an off-beat, message oriented venture breaking the set-norms and a lighthearted pleasant feel keeps you fairly engrossed. A few songs work well (especially the lyrics) enhancing the chemistry between the lead pair, and both Akshay and Radhika impress as a newly-wed couple dealing with the ‘period’ days. Sadly, these positives are more or less there in only its first half.

Where it doesn’t!
Post intermission, PADMAN gradually becomes a dedicated docu-drama instead of an engaging film. The character of Sonam Kapoor introduced in the second half, remains likable and charming in the beginning but then becomes completely clichéd bringing in the same age-old 'must have' love triangle in our Hindi films (why Balki did that?). In short, the final hour entirely becomes filmy in presentation as well as vision, including a forced long speech, high on emotions.
Cinematography remains fine but background music fails to add anything significant into the narration. Moreover the uneven accent in Akshay’s dialogue delivery never lets you relate with his language and not even a single character in the supporting cast (including the ‘essential’ cameo of Amitabh Bachchan) is able to excel or draw the viewer’s attention (remaining entirely focused on the Big Star).
In other words, in its latter part, PADMAN actually turns into a documentary giving you more information about the ‘Blessed Man’, his works, vision and achievement lacking the entertainment quotient.
As a responsible icon, Akshay Kumar is no doubt choosing all interesting, brave and socially relevant subjects that are worth watching and relevant for their own merits. But I personally find the execution of these projects as too careful and unrealistic, made with a certain kind of fear of rejection. For instance, Kumar was much better playing the innocent, simple man in his older films. But of late, the innocence in his forced smile and act goes missing and turns out to be too deliberate and far-away of anything relatable or natural. That’s exactly what I felt watching him as the school dropout, trained welder in PADMAN.
Having said that, R. Balki’s interpretation of the unbelievable real life story still has its own inspiring and excelling moments, mostly coming in its first half. The film rightly educates the viewers and forces you to ignore its visible flaws, leaving you with a feeling of responsibility towards your own family members and the people around.
So PADMAN certainly deserves an essential watch as an enlightening, informative project instead of an entertaining one. But the purpose of the attempt would fail, if you are not watching it with the family taking the young ones along. Because if you still think that the film is not watchable together with the women in the family, then the problem is right there and you remain caught in the aged old traditional mindset without opting or adjusting to the suggested change.
In the end, would like to inform that are three Hindi films made on the subject of low cost sanitary pads machine designed by Arunachalam Muruganantham and his life story as PHULLU (released in 2017), I-PAD (still unreleased) and PADMAN (2018). (A detailed writeup on the three films can also be read at BTC as my last posted article before the review).
Having seen all, where PHULLU goes on an entirely different path of tragedy, I can strongly vouch for writer-director Amit Rai’s I-PAD, that remains far ahead and much superior, outstanding film in comparison to the other two. In fact many of the key sequences of I-PAD (lying complete and unreleased since 2015) are quite similar to the ones there in PADMAN, visualized and performed much better than the more talked about Balki’s film.
Have no idea when I-PAD will be released and how it’s going to reach the eager viewers in the coming future. But whenever it will be there, make sure you watch Amit Rai’s realistic film as a must, to witness the excellence in its performances and execution.
But till then, do watch PADMAN too as an essential educative film taking the family along and do also pray that Amit Rai somehow is able to get his film released soon, may be at a digital platform.........., since REAL CINEMA shouldn’t die a silent death killed by the more powerful mainstream cinema.

Rating : 3 / 5
Note : It was really surprising to see that the multiplexes in cities like Delhi increased the tickets prices of a film like PADMAN too, which was ironically made to educate people about the availability of low priced Sanitary Pads in the country. And as usual, nobody raised a voice against the exploiting act, loudly and shamelessly contradicting the film’s core purpose. However, at BTC a big one gets deducted for the film's ratings, raising a lone voice against such practicing crushing the spirit of movie-watching in India.

So the net rating of the film becomes : 2 / 5

(The article first got published at UC-News Mobile App in February 2018)

Tags : PADMAN Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Socially Relevant Hindi Films, Hindi Film made on the importance of Sanitary Pads, New Bollywood movies reviews by Bobby Sing
12 Feb 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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