Connect with us

Featured

PadMan Movie Review: It Is A Noble Masterpiece , Period!

Subhash K . Jha

Published

on

Starring:  Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte

Directed  by: R Balki

Rating: *****(5 Stars)

There was  Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s stunning Padmaavat two weeks ago. There  is  the stunning-in-its-own-right PadMan  this week.

 There is the  period film. And then there is  the film about the periods. Excellence comes in many packages.But rarely in a small secret package wrapped a newspaper .Sometimes  these packages cost Rs 55 and are completely out of reach  for  the non-urban women  of  India.

One man in Tamil Nadu, who is miraculously a convincingly-transformed   North Indian inPadMan, decided to do something about making sanitary pads affordable to poor women. The thought was not just unmentionable, but also outrageous. It still is.The pain humiliation, strife and  final victory  of Laxmikant Chauhan  is  narrated in a series of quickly-cut quirky bitterly humorous episodes(editor Chandan Arora can take a bow) that could easily have become  caricatured  preachy and propagandist.

PadMan is  none  of the  above.  It celebrates  the spirit of enterprise with enrapturing integrity and tempered gusto , rendering the saga of Laxmikant Chauhan’s journey from familial  humiliation and spouse-deseration to a  PadmaShri addressing the United Nations.One  of India’s finest cinematographers P C Sreeram makes Laxmikant’s audacious odyssey a visual manifestation  of a life that defies logical definition.

PadMan has two heroes.Akshay Kumar and P C Sreeram.

But before we get there, a word  on the cinema of noble intentions that seems to have run out of steam in these times of perverse dreams.Nobility  in these cynical twisted times when little girls get raped and big boys sell state secrets for big bucks,is not a quality we value in art.Given the premium we  place on selfinterest the sheer generosity of  spirit that R Balkidisplays in his fifth feature film—and by far his finest work—should  be reason to stand  up and applaud PadMan.

But wait. Hold  on  to your seats. There is much more to celebrate in this wonderfully motivated  film,a  tidalwave  of menstrual liberation   that sweeps us into its charming folds like  an old grandmother in whose arms we would cuddle and  forget the worries of  the world. PadMan possesses a rare innocence and charm.The proclivity to  live a life of utter selflessness that seeps out of every pore in its protagonist’s heart, comes pouring out of every frame, wrapping us in a feeling of bonhomie that captures life’s most cherishable  emotions.

It is   very hard , almost impossible  , to forget the protagonist, a  true hero of our times,Laxmikant Chauhan.And not only because of  the  luminous way the character is written byBalki and his co-writer Swanand Kirkire. It’s the way Akshay Kumar plays Laxmikant, a man  driven to insane bouts of audacity   by the passion to diminish the pain that women experience  for 5 days(disparagingly referred  to as ‘test match’ by the boys of the mohallah) every  month.

 Balki adopts a simple straightforward linear narrative mode, leaving behind the swag and swagger of Chini Kam, Ki & Ka and the underrated Shamitabh to focus on the man and his mission with a singlemindeness of vision shared in equal measures by  the protagonist and the filmmaker. There are passages of keen satire rubbing shoulders with fleeting images of deep contemplation in the supple sturdy and rugged storytelling,all merging in a marriage of Pure Cinema and Social Statement.

The narrative does tend to overstate its case. And there are sequences such as the one between  Sonam and her screen father in a car at the end, which smack of over-explanation. But most of the time Balki knows where to hold back and where to let  go. The pauses in Laxmikant’s saga are rarely filled with irrelevance.Balki and his leading man won’t allow  a life so rarefied  to be  inured in nonsense.

The  performances are uniformly appealing. I love Balki’s unusual casting tricks in all his films. Here in PadMan watch out exciting underexposed  acting talent,for instance veteran actress Jyoti Subhash as Akshay Kumar’s mother. And Sunil Sinha(remember him in Gulzar’s Maachis?) as  Sonam Kapoor’s Sardarji father.Sinha has  some of  the  best father-daughter scenes with Sonam and  the film’s finest line: “To be a complete father, try playing the mother .To be  a complete man try feeling a woman’s pain.”

 While Radhika Apte as Akshay’s wife is uncharacteristically over-the-top in conveying a woman’s menstrual anxieties(at times she behaves as though the wife Gayatri has her time of the month  for the entire month) Sonam’s Pari is a delight. The actress plays a table player and an incorrigible do-gooder and Laxmikant’s biggest support, all without toppling over into excessive sweetness.

The kiss she shares with her co-star is  a little…ummmm…out of place.But that’s okay. No one  and  nothing is  perfect.

The film belongs to Akshay Kumar. Make no mistake  about that. Playing Laxmikant with a mixture of inbuilt ingenuity and curiosity he makes the man  believable and endearing , so compassionate and inspiring. As  Laxmikant Chauhan/‎Arunachalam Muruganantham ,Akshay Kumar’s  rousing speech at the UN is the showreel that will be shown when he gets his first lifetime achievement award. In the meanwhile, do reserve every single acting honour of 2018 for this  performance.

Arunachalam Muruganantham is not North Indian. But after watching Akshay Kumar play him, I wish he was.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must Read

Entertainment6 hours ago

12 Actors Who Have Played Specially Abled characters.

Rani Mukherjee in Black, Konkona Sen-Sharma in 15 Park  , Priyanka Chopra in Barfi, Kalki Koechlinin Margarita With A Straw….what’s it about these inwardly-ravaged physically-challenged characters that makes them awards-worthy?...

Entertainment7 hours ago

Priyanka Chopra One Song In Bollywood To Go, And She May Duet With Farhan

Priyanka Chopra has just one more song to complete before she’s done with Bollywood for now. The song, a romantic duet, will be filmed  on Priyanka and Farhan Akhtar who plays her husband  in Shonali Bose’s  The Sky...

Entertainment7 hours ago

Malaal Gives Us Two Talents To Watch

The  trailer  of the Mangesh Hadawale-directed Malaal  is  out. Mangesh  helmed  an unforgettable film  called DekhCircus Dekh. It is  the finest  film of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s career,and ...

Entertainment1 day ago

The Censor Board Didn’t Cut Babe-With-Booze-Bottle Scene

BFor a  couple  of days now there  have been stories  on  the Central Board  Of Film Certification(CBFC) ordering a booze...

Sunny Deol Career Hits Rock-Bottom Sunny Deol Career Hits Rock-Bottom
Entertainment1 day ago

No Plans For Gadar 2 Yet, Sunny Deol Denies It

 There were  reports recently  suggesting that Anil Sharma was  planning  a sequel to his  2002  mega-hit Gadar: EkPrem Katha the pre-Partition  love story about an Indian Sikh following...

Featured1 day ago

Ajay Devgan Is The Quiet Achiever

From balancing between two  motorcycles in his maiden  film Phool Aur Kante  to balancing two women  in  his latest  release De De Pyar De….that’s Ajay Devgan for you....

Featured2 days ago

5 Reasons Why De De Pyar De Looks Like A Winner

Because it’s Luv Ranjan, the game changer from Pyaar Ka Punchnama and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. This time Ranjan...

News & Interviews2 days ago

Sonam K Ahuja Preparing For Motherhood

From among the four high-profile recent Bollywood weddings(Anushka-Virat, Sonam-Anand, Deepika-Ranveer , Priyanka-Nick) it looks like Sonam and Anand would be...

Featured2 days ago

Hema Malini Hands Over Her Crown To Deepika Padukone

It’s official, Well,almost. Indian cinema’s undisputed Dream Girl Hema Malini has handed over her crown to a new successor. And...

Featured2 days ago

KGF To Release In China, Yash Reacts

Kannada superstar Yash has a lot to rejoice about. His last year’s release KGF was the surprise blockbuster of the...

Tiger Shroff No Kiss Clause Tiger Shroff No Kiss Clause
Featured2 days ago

Tiger Shroff Denies Being Approached For Bhaichung Bhutia’s Bio-pic

Youth icon Tiger Shroff is currently in the news for his all-system-go performance in Student of the Year 2. Though...

Featured3 days ago

De De Pyar De Is Cuddly Winsome & Naughty

De De Pyar De Starring: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Rakul  Preet Singh Directed by: Akiv Ali Rating: **** ½ (4 and a  half stars) Okay , guys,  there is  news....

Featured3 days ago

Ajay Devgan, Ranveer Singh Will Make Guest Appearances In Sooryavansham

Rohit Shetty’s khaki world just got much bigger, and more inviting. After Ajay Devgan’s Singham and Ranveer Singh’s Simmba, it...

Featured3 days ago

Siddharth Malhotra Dating Another Johar Protégé

Reliable sources from Karan Johar’s Dharma Production confirm that Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani are in a relationship. “They are...

Featured3 days ago

Pooja Bedi Speaks On The MenToo Movement

In the wake of actor-musician Karan Oberoi’s incarceration for alleged rape, Oberoi’s close friend Pooja Bedi has launched a MenToo...

shah rukh khan shah rukh khan
Featured3 days ago

7 Things Shah Rukh Won’t Be Part Of

Since Shah Rukh Khan has made it explicitly clear that he is in no hurry to move on to his...

Featured4 days ago

No Bollywood Debut For Manushi Chillar Yet

There are reports going around that beauty pageant winner Manushi Chillar would be making her debut opposite Akshay Kumar in...

Featured4 days ago

Ananya Pandey’s Role Was Reworked In Student Of The Year2

The one certainty that emerges from the mess created in Student Of The Year 2 is the star potential of...

Featured4 days ago

Karan Johar Stares At Another Flop In A Month

Scarcely had  Karan Johar’s Dharma  Production gotten  over the debacle  of  Kalank than another setback stares the illustrious  production  house  in  the face. Dharma  Productions  Student ...

Featured5 days ago

Shah Rukh Khan-Aanand Rai Fall-Out

The great creative partnership between Shah Rukh Khan and director Aanand L Rai has gone kaput, after the thundering failure...

Shabana In Auntyji A Short Film Shabana In Auntyji A Short Film
Featured5 days ago

Shabana Azmi: “I Am Not Going Anywhere”

A fake tweet with Shabana Azmi’s picture is being circulated stating that Shabana will leave the country if Narendra Modi...

Featured5 days ago

Ajay Devgan Prepones De De Pyar De To Thursday, Poor Response To SOTY2 Responsible?

The Luv Ranjan-produced Akiv-Ali directed Ajay Devgan-Tabu rom-com De De Pyar De has a new release date. It will now...

Featured6 days ago

Roshan Taneja’s Star-Pupils Pay a Homage To The Imcomparble Acting Guru

Roshan Taneja was to the art of acting what Lata Mangeshkar is to singing,or Sachin Tendulkar is to cricket.His death...

Featured6 days ago

Irrfan’s Right To Privacy Must Be Respected

We mediapersons tend to think a ‘no’ is not a no when a potential interviewer clearly doesn’t want to speak.That’s...

Featured6 days ago

Dia Mirza: “I Take My New Responsibility As UN’s SDG Advocate Very Seriously”

The very lovely Dia Mirza has been appointed one of the 6 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocate by the...

Featured6 days ago

Roshan Taneja, The Incomparable Acting Guru Is No More

His star-pupil Shabana Azmi  speaks  to Subhash  K Jha  on   the legendary man-artiste-guru mentor.   “He was the only person...

Entertainment1 week ago

Tiger 3 Is Being Preponed For Katrina

While there was a  gap of five years between Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai,the third film in the franchise will be  made  sooner  rather than ...

Entertainment1 week ago

Momma Dearest, Bollywood Stars Want To Make Mother’s Say Special For Their Moms

Shabana Azmi: “At 89 Mashallah, Shaukat Kaifi is my mother, my child and my friend.Warm compassionate generous to a fault. But brutally frank. Her memory is failing....

Badnaam Gali Badnaam Gali
Entertainment1 week ago

Badnaam Gali Means Well, But Flounders & Falls

Badnaam Gali(Zee5) Starring  Patralekhaa, Divyenndu  Sharma Directed  by Ashwin Shetty Rating: ** ½(two and a  half stars)   A film on surrogate motherhood  for Mother’s Day....

Entertainment1 week ago

Vishal’s Ayogya Is Better Than Ranveer’s Simmba

Ayogya(Tamil) Starring Vishal Krishna,Raashi Khanna, K S Ravikumar Directed  by  Venkat Mohan Rating:  ****(4 stars)  For those who were wondering, why a third version  of  the...

Blowing Kisses At Fans & Clicking Selfies Is Not My Idea Of A Birthday Says Vishal Blowing Kisses At Fans & Clicking Selfies Is Not My Idea Of A Birthday Says Vishal
Featured1 week ago

Vishal Krishna: “Politics Behind Attempts To Sabotage My Film.”

Tamil  superstar Vishal Krishna  says he was  stunned  when  his producer  informed him that he  won’t be  able to release ...

Vishal Krishna Vishal Krishna
Featured1 week ago

Vishal Krishna’s Ayogya Release Delayed

In a  shocking incident  of  last-minute  upheaval, Tamil star and political activist  Vishal Krishna’s new  releaseAyogya was  stopped  from release in Tamil Nadu as  per ...

Entertainment1 week ago

Saif On The Success Of Sacred Games, Models His career On Tom Hardy

 In an effort to get the optimum work done without compromising  on  the quality  of  work,  Netflix has appointed two  separate  directors...

Featured1 week ago

Salman Khan’s Tribute To Dharmendra, Dharmendra Reacts

Not many know this . But Salman Khan hero-worships Dharmendra and looks for ways to pay him a compliments off...

Movie Reviews1 week ago

Student Of The Year 2 Is A Splashy Bore

Starring Tiger Shroff, Aditya Seal, Ananya Pandey, Tara Sutaria Directed by Punit Malhotra Rating: **(2 stars)  In a  film that  runs on  and on , almost as fast ...

Featured1 week ago

Namrata Shirodkar On Being Mrs Mahesh Babu

Namrata Shirodkar had to wait for five years to marry the love of her life Mahesh Babu. God knows how...

Featured1 week ago

Varun Dhawan Won’t Wear Coolie Outfit In Coolie No 1

Irony can go no further. Varun Dhawan, the illustrious son of the great David Dhawan won’t be wearing the coolie’s...

Featured1 week ago

10 Unknown Facts About Ranveer Singh

Ranveer who injured his shoulder during the shooting of Bajirao Mastani had earlier suffered a serious leg injury during the...

Featured1 week ago

Sundeep Kishan On Growing Wiser, Entering The Horror-Comedy Genre

Inspired by the spectacular success of the Bollywood comedy-horror Stree, Telugu star Sundeep Kishan, who turned a year older on...

Featured1 week ago

City Of Dreams Review: It Is Powerful & Compelling

City Of Dreams(webseries, Hotstar) Starring Priya Bapat, Sidharth Chandekar, Eijaz Khan, Vishwas Kini Directed by Nagesh Kukunoor Rating: *** ½(3...

Featured1 week ago

Revealed: Student Of The Year2 Is Inspired By Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar

If you thought that after Kalank Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions is back to doing what it knows best—remixing the old...

Featured1 week ago

“Karan Oberoi Should Never Have Gone To Jail”. Bestie Pooja Bedi Stands Up For Rape Accused

In what could be a significant move to end all nuisance litigation pertaining to sexual harassment, feminist Pooja Bedi, daughter...

Featured1 week ago

No Averting Of Eid 2020 Clash Between Akshay and Salman

While this year’s Eid weekend ‘belongs’ to Salman Khan’s Bharat, it won’t be a free-run for Salman next year ....

Featured1 week ago

7 Reasons Why We Welcome Student Of The Year Again…A Sneak Peek

Tiger Shroff’s dancing and fighting skills are the film’s mainstay. He breezes through the film with a sharp instinct for...

Featured2 weeks ago

Decoding The Phenomenal Success Of Avengers

 Is it  the most successful film of all times? Yes, probably. Even  Akshay Kumar think it’s out-of the-world ,so who are  we  ordinary...

Featured2 weeks ago

Saluting The Most Talented Khan Of Bollywood

Very few Indian actors have had the privilege of playing such a wide variety of characters . Irrfan Khan’s versatility...

Featured2 weeks ago

Tiger Shroff On His Injury: “I Am On a Wheelchair When I Should Be Dancing”

A leg injury has landed Tiger Shroff on a wheelchair, for at least a week. The timing couldn’t have been...

Featured2 weeks ago

Sequel Fever On The Wane?No Adha Dhun Sequel, Says Director

With Salman Khan’s Race franchise biting the dust in its latest avatar and his other big Tiger franchise showing no...

Featured2 weeks ago

Anupam Kher: “Every Successful Person Is Attacked, Akshay Is No Exception”

Akshay Kumar has an ardent supporter in Anupam Kher who has come out openly in suppprt of the beleaguered Kumar...

Featured2 weeks ago

Karan Oberoi Accused Of Rape & Blackmail, Friends Shocked

I knew Karan Oberoi , accused of rape and blackmail by an astrologer, 12 years ago when he was dating...

Advertisement

Most Popular