Pad Man Review
Dealing with a sensitive subject is no joke, it gets even complicated when the subject is about a complicated man who thinks on simple terms. Drawing inspiration from Coimbatore simpleton – Arunachalam Muruganantham, the film is fictionally set in Madhya Pradesh to suit Hindi audience. For a South Indian, to be more precise a Tamizhan; it is an ouch moment, it worries how much a film can change the original outlook of who is actually behind the whole revolution. Still no one from Kollywood made a movie out of Arunachalam so we can’t complain that either. Starring Akshay Kumar who now seems to be taking up roles that inspire or fight for a cause the film also has acting power house Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor.
Let’s fix this thought first, Arunachalam M was a simpleton, he did not have any dreams per se to change the society or as the film keeps shouting “ Save Womanhood or Respect Women”. The story is no hide and seek, its what we already know – A guy who has no clue on mensuration (like most of the guys in India), wonders why his wife acts weird those taboo days and sets up on an obsession to get to the bottom of stained cloth mystery by inventing his own cost effective napkin. When a biography film is taken as it happens in reality, its shooed away as a documentary; adding bits and pieces of humor or romance makes it commercial; Padman is a mixture of both. While Radhika Apte wins our hearts in the first half, the second goes to Sonam who turns out as a motivator to Akshay Kumar.
While Akshay is quite the perfect character to don the role of Arunachalam; it takes a lot to digest how Bollywood has redrafted the entire story to suit Hindi audience, apparently for a higher reach. People who know the story of real Arunachalam will have a hard time digesting this, but then when films like these are made these issues are most often disregarded considering the sensitivity and subject that the film carries. Padman has its own narrative issues, everything that Arunachalam’s speech has is made into the film; the football, the survey, his infinite questions relating to mensuration that eventually led him to unearth a new machine made cost effective for sanitary. The film concentrates more on the hero’s umpteenth efforts in making something good for his wife so that she doesn’t have to be called a taboo, which holds true in our society. Akshay through his journey discovers more than what he originally intended to and puts his soul into the character to show how gritty Arunachalam had been.
While Radhika’s character has a good life to it, somehow it looks like R.Balki has just made her cry all the time, it somehow is to show why her husband behaves so odd but that looks so very desperate. Same goes for Sonam’s character, while her attitude is convincing, the romance angle is so absurd and is just a waste of time for such a movie, poorly done. Balki in his efforts to get the movie showcased on a large scale misses out to show the entire process of the efforts in the machine but instead focusses more on Arunachalam’s character as he boosts his way into the society. The last UN speech is mixed for those who not seen Arunachalam’s original speech, for his broken English had that authentic sincerity in it. Even if you had not seen Arunachalam’s speech, Askshay’s efforts look a little clumsy probably we know the man’s caliber and would have been better if it was an unknown face. Music, camera, rest of the characters do justice to their technicality.
Padman is Balki-Akshay’s efforts to bring forward the efforts of a man who fights to bring to the society a cheap sanitary option that is healthy and cost effective. Adding commercial dose to it might do the trick for 100crore, but that doesn’t give that authentic touch to the biography.
Verdict : Go for Arunachalam