Meet the Real PadMan Before Bollywood Ruins It


Meet the Real PadMan Before Bollywood Ruins It

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


s Bollywood’s glitterati proudly holds up sanitary pads to raise awareness for their Instagram followers, participating in Akshay Kumar’s #PadManChallenge, the man who inspired it all unknowingly wrote off their “socially conscious” marketing exercise in a few sharp lines. “Menstrual hygiene is a subject that can’t be tackled by an advertising or a marketing team,” said Arunachalam Muruganantham toward the end of Amit Virmani’s 2013 documentary Menstrual Man.

Amit Virmani’s documentary is a hard look at a world in which a man invades the privacy of women in a small town and the price he pays for it. However, if the movie PadMan’s pointless marketing exercise is anything to go by, R Balki will give us a hyped-up superhero film with Akshay Kumar in a cleaned-up (whitewashed) North Indian version of Muruganantham with a twinkle-eyed social worker (Sonam Kapoor) to make it more “people friendly”. The documentary, however, gives us a the real story with all its rough edges.