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PADMAN- Reviews, Box Office, Discussions. (Page 6)

JackSparrowcraz IF-Dazzler
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Pad Man': example of how good causes may not always make great cinema



Namrata Joshi | FEBRUARY 09, 2018 13:16 IST


The fascinating, idiosyncratic personality of Arunachalam Muruganantham gets drowned in the piety, boredom and melodrama of 'Pad Man'.

Arunachalam Muruganantham is a fascinating man. Not just for embracing the worthy cause of producing affordable sanitary napkins for the poor and revolutionising the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India but also as an individual, especially when it comes to his unique, often self-deprecatory, sense of humour. His deep-rooted wit shines through in Amit Virmani's documentary Menstrual Man as you see him making a light of the worst ordeals in his life. The idiosyncrasy and ingenuity could have led to a compelling biographical portrait on screen. Unfortunately R. Balki drowns out all the delightful drollness and quirks in overt piety and dreary melodrama. Akshay Kumar's Lakshmikant then is not even half as intriguing as India's real Pad Man.

There is a certain dignity and forthrightness with which Muruganantham talks (in Menstrual Man) about dropping out of school and getting to learn English his own way from the scratch. He candidly admits that his English is self-taught, "designed by himself and you instinctively respect his native intelligence.

On the other hand, in Pad Man, the long U.N. speech sequence in calculated broken English (that seems modelled more on Amitabh Bachchan's "Aisi angrezi aave hai ke I can leave angrez behind monologue in Namak Halaal), makes an annoying caricature of Lakshmikant and, in turn, Muruganantham.

Balki doesn't know how he wants to tackle the story at times his treatment is like the public service advertising of Information and Broadcasting Mministry's Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), merely expanding on the real life incidents without any flair or imagination the talk of dirty rags and even ash that women take recourse to during "those five days, the risk of infection, the talk of expensive sanitary napkins and how buying it would mean cutting down the family's milk budget, the feedback forms given to medical college students or finding out about cellulose fibre.

Even Muruganantham's weird research methodology is replicated as it is the artificial uterus, football for a bladder, animal blood and even wearing the pad himself. Yet, at other moments Balki blows things into the utterly filmi terrain characters and emotions pitched on the extremes, a love triangle needlessly thrust in and some heightened moments like Lakshmi, with his "stained pants jumping in slo-mo into the Narmada or hanging onto the balcony of a young girl who has just started menstruating to give her a pad.

To look at the bright side, Maheshwar and Narmada are a new welcome break from Varanasi-Ganga setting of Hindi films. There is touch of whimsy in some dialogue and phrases a person being referred to as Narmada ka kachchua (Turtle of Narmada) or a casanova called "dheele naade ka aadmi (now this would be entirely lost in translation) or a shopkeeper asking Lakshmi "Kishton mein gadda bana rahe ho kya (Are you making the mattress in instalments) when he keeps asking him for some cotton every day.

On the other hand, some lines left me cringing. Call me a feminazi but could we please dispense with making a "male virtue out of coming to a "woman's aid: "Ek aurat ki hifaazat mein naakaamyab insaan apne ko mard kaise kah sakta hai?" (A person who is unable to protect a woman can't call himself a man) goes a line here. Funnily another "period film that came last year  Phullu  had a similar dripping with male nobility dialogue: "Jo auraton ka dard nahin samjhta, Bhagwan use mard nahin samjhta (The one who disregards the pain of a woman isn't considered a man by God).

Did Muruganantham also get so upright, and uptight, about fighting for a woman's cause? I doubt. There's impeccable idealism in his social entrepreneurship and community development model but without any moral burden that weighs down his on screen avatar(s) and the film(s) at large.

Akshay Kumar's performance comes with the trappings and obvious awareness of being a "crusader; I'd much rather take him in an easygoing outing like Jolly LLB2. Radhika Apte has little else to do other than weep copiously. Sonam Kapoor gets the worst intro scene in the history of Indian cinema playing the tabla in a concert, offbeat at that. She has a go at the instrument in one more scene (out of tune again) and then the professional table player element of her personality gets conveniently forgotten. Why make her a tabla player in the first place?

Ignorance is bliss. Perhaps, it would be better to see the film in a vacuum. For all those unaware of Muruganantham, especially those in North India, and all those who haven't seen Phullu last year, Balki's film could well be an eye-opener. But for those in the know, Pad Man is an example of how good causes may not always make great cinema.


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JackSparrowcraz IF-Dazzler
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PadMan Review: Akshay crusades for a new cause



February 09, 2018 11:15 IST

'PadMan has its premise in place. Now if only it had some wings,' says Sukanya Verma.


Akshay Kumar is a man on a mission.

Most of his acclaimed work in recent times involves him taking up a cause that'll enrich society or whip up nationalistic fervour.

There's an obvious enthusiasm in him to play characters taking a morally high ground. And while it is advantageous to spearhead significant subjects, a monotony of earnestness has set in.

In the R Balki-directed PadMan, Akshay is back to playing a considerate husband fighting provincial mind-sets and social taboos. Only this time creating a disposable sanitary pad -- not toilet -- occupy his unwavering attention.

His Lakshmikant Chauhan is a man of exceptional sensitivity and ingenuity. Something his young bride, raised on orthodox, old school beliefs can neither understand nor appreciate.

 

Where most actresses wouldn't rise above annoyingly regressive, Radhika Apte imbues her character's embarrassment and irritation with a heartfelt understanding of a woman caught between her cravings for comforting conventionality while faced with boldness beyond her grasp.

She is like as her husband complains, 'Rani Mukerji ke zamane mein Devika Rani ki dialogue bol rahi ho.'

The other women in his life -- his elderly mother and three sisters -- aren't allowed such complexity. They are little more than scandalised, scampering, bunnies every time Lakshmi appears before them flashing a sparkling white pad in hand.

Undeterred by his family's disapproval and social ostracism, Lakshmi endeavours to discover the mechanism behind a serviceable pad in a manner that looks unexpectedly comfortable and pleasant on screen.

Scenes where he is sitting by a pretty pond encircled by frangipani flowers and heaping cotton wads on fresh green leaves are filmed in a curiously delicious manner (by P C Sreeram), as though he's packing tiffin of steamed idlis. Nor has receiving free samples of materials from overseas suppliers ever looked more at the snap of a finger.

Although the treatment is understated if compared to Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, its feminist hero ethos -- Ek aurat ki hifazat mein nakamiyab aadmi apne aap ko mard kaise keh sakta hai? -- are almost identical.

Menstruation is seldom a part of our conversation in the movies. And PadMan scores for highlighting the shocking disregard for menstrual hygiene as well as unjustified steep pricing of means that offer protection from the same a lot more effectively than last year's Phullu.

What PadMan is aiming for is admirable and a genuine concern, but it isn't always above the missteps common to most films of the meaningful genre.

In the beginning, it adopts a largely logical approach at the rampant problem. Save for the 'Test match' slur, not much is dwelled upon the absurd superstitions associated with menstruation, an outlook that is prevalent among the educated and privileged lot as well.

Instead, PadMan's energy is directed in documenting Lakshmi's journey and experiments into a fairy-tale triumph replete with Balki regular Amitabh Bachchan's blessing and all.

To Balki's credit he presents these technical pursuits with enough excitement to sustain interest.

There's a recurring parallel in the visuals of Hindu Gods like Hanuman and Krishna as coconut and Prasad vending machines of religious expectations next to Lakshmi's socially frowned engineering, which subtly conveys the challenges of introducing practical methods in a deeply convoluted network of obsolete beliefs.

It is inspired by the true story of Coimbatore's Arunachalam Muruganantham and his award-winning invention, one that not only offered functional, economical sanitary napkins but also empowered women as means to earn an independent livelihood featured as a fictionalised short story in co-producer Twinkle Khanna's The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.

PadMan dramatises his reality to accomodate romance and distinction with a calculation that is one of the weakest aspects of an otherwise constructive narrative.

Serving as catalyst to this purpose, Sonam Kapoor contributes with her sartorial elegance and appears at home in her character's urban, rational and humanitarian sensibilities. But Balki's need to complicate her platonic equation with Akshay leaves the viewer both confused and distracted.

The big speech at UN to follow, a cheap imitation of Sridevi's, from the director's better half Gauri Shinde's English Vinglish, rechrishtened Linglish here, single-handedly demolishes everything Akshay's carefully calibrated performance has worked for.

It's one thing to come out great and entirely another to claim it. 'Mad only become famous,' he stresses in a monologue reeking of 'Look, how socially conscious I am.' The affectation is conspicuous and disappointing especially when even the blood stains in his pants seemed more sincere.

For all its worth, PadMan has its premise in place. Now if only it had some wings.

Rediff Rating:



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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 4:33am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Udan-Khatola

Originally posted by Ogreatone

Don't think much of this film


Better films than Toilet. Give it a go

I liked it. Akshay was good.

Im going to Pakistan next few weeks so ill try to catch it Star
JackSparrowcraz IF-Dazzler
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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 4:42am | IP Logged

PADMAN MOVIE REVIEW

Critic's Rating: 3.5/5
INDIA'S MOST UNLIKELY SUPERHERO 


PADMAN STORY: 
Concerned about his wife Gayatri's (Radhika Apte) menstrual hygiene, Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) urges her to ditch the cloth and opt for sanitary napkins. Gayatri is reluctant to go for disposable pads as they are expensive. Lakshmi obsessing over a 'ladies problem' makes her cringe but he insists on bringing upon a change by addressing the taboo topic. Subjected to hostility for ruffling the religious and age-old beliefs of people around, can the man brave the resistance and get his point across? 


PADMAN REVIEW: The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. Through Padman, R Balki tells the real life inspiring story of Arunachalam Muruganantham (played by Akshay Kumar), a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, who invented low cost sanitary napkins in India, despite the massive opposition and humiliation he was subjected to. The director changes the film's setting to Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh, while retaining the core of his courageous story.


Given the constant mention of statistics pertaining to the inadequate percentage of women who use pads in India, and reiteration of the film's issue based motive, Padman often seems like a Public Service Advertisement parading as a commercial film. In order to appeal to the lowest common denominator, things are over-explained and all of this results in a sluggish progression of events. However, given how awkward women are made to feel even today while buying sanitary pads from a medical store, this social drama makes for an important film that needs to be watched.


Having said that, in portions, Balki struggles to maintain a balance as it's not easy to entertain, spread awareness and sensitize people about the issue, all at one go. His semi-humorous and urban outlook at a predominantly rural issue, isn't seamless as the script often meanders but he redeems himself in scenes that convey a lot more through unspoken words. A quiet moment when Gayatri realises Lakshmi's concern for her after she sees her brother abusing and neglecting his wife's health is heart-breaking. Lakshmi's reaction to his first consumer's feedback is equally moving. 


The 'superhero' of the film Akshay Kumar, makes you wonder why he continues to be one of our most underrated actors, despite such immense body of work. He going as far as wearing a pink ladies underwear and a pad to prove a point, goes on to show how actors are willing to push boundaries and embrace their screen characters for the films they believe in. Radhika Apte portrays her part beautifully, making her character relatable to the section of women, who still face such societal taboos. Sonam Kapoor too lights up the screen with her candour and makes her presence felt in a significant role. 


Known for making films that work towards bridging the age and gender gap, Balki's Padman is an empowering film that gives you the wings, despite the odds. It will free women of their inhibitions and that will be its biggest success. Period! 

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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 4:46am | IP Logged

Padman Movie Review - Need Not Skip This; Period

Feb 09, 2018, 08:18 IST | Mayank Shekhar

Padman Movie Review: So Yeah, It's That Time Of The Month, When This Film On Periods, Having Had To Skip Its Release For Another Kind Of Period Drama (Padmaavat), Finally Makes It To Theatres


Padman
U/A: Drama, Biography
Director: R Balki
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte, Sonam Kapoor
Rating: Rating
So yeah, it's that time of the month, when this film on periods, having had to skip its release for another kind of period drama (Padmaavat), finally makes it to theatres. And let this be the last of the puns I'll make on the film's subject. As if attempting a semi-rural setting isn't risky enough, one of the things the thoroughly massy filmmakers might have feared while making this pic, I suspect, are sniggers from a (predominantly) male audience, especially with the lead actor - in separate phases, a macho, mainstream action, comic, romantic star - being perceived as a chump on screen, obsessed with women chumming.

Akshay Kumar plays one Lakshmikant Chauhan, an uneducated, intuitive innovator of sorts (one wished to see more of his 'jugaad' inventions), from Maheshwar - a gorgeous riverside settlement, with the 18th Century Queen Ahilyabai Holkar's minimalist palace overlooking the Narmada, which I think you must visit, if ever around Indore sometime. The location is used well to prettify the frame here, although one hardly gets a sense of its people, and the patois.

The hero in this lot, in fact, invites far worse reactions (banishment, almost), than merely senseless laughs, among characters he's surrounded by. They simply can't get why a man should go around seemingly stalking girls to test/try on his cheap, home-made sanitary pads, or bother himself with menstrual hygiene issues. Even his wife (Radhika Apte) is mortified.

There is much embarrassment attached to discussing matters of female body parts in public, which I guess is natural in a society that puts such premium on a woman's 'sharm', 'haya', 'lajja' (shame) in general, deeming it as her prized ornament. Does the film address this issue head-on? In the same way that Akshay - pretty much back-to-back with Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (on open defecation) - has turned PSAs (Public Service Announcements) into a proper, popular film genre.

Importantly, does it manage to entertain? Absolutely, if you're patient enough through the first half. Foremost, you've got to credit the filmmakers for a pretty fine job with a percussion-heavy background score, dramatising the making of jugaadu sanitary pads, for God's sake! Surely ain't easy.

Also, there's little change a regular bloke - no matter how concerned about an issue - can effect in a village, when the big city remains still the breeding ground for big ideas (let alone big funds). This rural-metropolitan distance, as Sonam Kapoor's urbane character puts it, isn't something 'Digital India' (or other slogans) can bridge as yet.

Lakshmikant soldiers on still. This is an extremely inspiring story. Having learnt about Akshay's method of skimming through a script, where he marks out a few key scenes, while naturally breezing through most of his films - you have to check him out in that bitter-sweet moment where someone finally tries on his character's innovative pad, for the first time, and gives it a thumbs up!

Speaking of unconventional filmmaking methods, ad-man turned Pad Man director R Balki (Cheeni Kum, Shamitabh) has an equally quirky way of working on scripts. Much like an astute advertising mind, he comes up with a half-liner - Abhishek Bachchan playing Amitabh Bachchan's dad (Paa), for instance - and if the idea interests him and something like that hasn't been attempted before, he told me once, he simply goes ahead.

This is, in that sense, a very different kinda Balki movie. Pad Man is based on social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham's life, which has already been made into two feature films that we know of - the unreleased I-Pad, and Phullu (2017) - besides a full-length documentary, Menstrual Man (2013).

Having said that, none of those efforts would have had the legs to travel as wide as this Akshay Kumar entertainer (with a lovely soundtrack), spreading a message that is impossible to ignore in a country where, as the film informs us, only 12 per cent women use sanitary napkins at all. The rest simply can't stay free from likely infections, diseases. So you know where this film is coming from. I'm actually really glad to know where it's going. Period.
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SRK- Swades Aamir- Taare zameen par @akshaykumar - #Padman Its a revolutionary film . One of Akshay's career best film. Its way beyond box office Collection. Every Indian must watch this film. Fantastic relevant yet entertaining film. Rating- (4.5/5)

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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 5:59am | IP Logged
Real Boxoffice !! @teamrb_
FollowingFollowing @teamrb_
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EXCLUSIVE :- #PadMan 6.00pm LIVE :- Failed to get any noticeable growth till now at most of the properties, little disappointing for the exhibitors specially where #Padmaavat not been released. As said Word of mouth is positive-that should come into play in evening & tomorrow

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Posted: 09 February 2018 at 6:15am | IP Logged
I think Padman opening is also a reflection of peoples reaction to BJP.

Akki wooed many BJP leaders and posted photos.But the film failed to get audience in BJP ruled states.

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