R. Balki has decided to instruct and improve the society by picking such a brave subject that highlight women's menstrual hygiene issue. Considering an incredible true story of the real Padman Arunachalam Muruganantham, R. Balki has brilliantly presented the solution for all the taboos revolving around periods. The story is quite simple and set in the backdrop of rural India around the 2001 era and every minute details are magnificently taken care of. It is the superhero Lakshmikant Chauhan played by Akshay Kumar who is bothered about his wife Gayatri played by Radhika Apte. Lakshmikant Chauhan namely Laxmi spots his wife hiding a dirty cloth during her menstrual cycle, which makes him extremely anxious about her health. He deliberately speaks to her about the same but she pleads him not to be concerned about this unnecessary women problem. In fact, she even denies wearing the disposable pad as it is too expensive for her routine menstrual issue. Laxmi then decides to make pads on his own by studying the elements of the commercial sanitary pad. He makes it quite a few times but fails in his initial attempts. He is taken down by the cliche mentality of the society and suffers a lot for his actions that had a lot of positive intent.
Sonam Kapoor's supporting role as Rhea is admirable as she guides Laxmi with all her contemplative advice. Akshay and Sonam's chemistry is bewitching and enchanting. At a certain stage, a love angle between the two is showcased which was unnecessary but as it is Bollywood such things are expected. Akshay Kumar's performance steals our heart. His local rural guy character is spot on and his innocent intent is matched by his stellar performance that goes through a lot of emotions. His climax speech gives us a reason to smile. His 11 minutes one take speech in the U.S ends up with a graceful note of Women strong, Country strong message. Radhika Apte as Gayatri was a perfect portrayal of a rural wife that is superstitious to give a 51 rs offering to a deity but won't go for a 55 rs sanitary pad. The film thoroughly unites everyone with such a great thought that raises true feminist agendas of Women empowerment and Women hygiene in front of us.
The songs are again an engaging element of this social drama and the movie begins right away from the song 'Aaj Se Teri' where Gayatri is getting married to superhero Lakshmikant. The caring chemistry of Akshay and Radhika blends beautifully with the voice of Arijit Singh along with the composition of Amit Trivedi. The next song titled 'Sayaani' is a traditional sounding song showcasing the celebration of a teenager's puberty. Yashita Sharma's voice just makes the celebration lively. The next number is in the voice of Mohit Chauhan and the song is titled 'Saale Sapne' a song full of life showing Laxmi following his way to invent the cost-effective sanitary pad machine. Following 'Hu Ba Hu' which is a tribute to the true friendship of Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor's on-screen characters and Amit Trivedi's voice has brought a flavour of innocence in this melodious soundtrack. Every song has complimented the film with their presence and the last farewell song 'The Padman Song' performed by Mika Singh has the Padam Sri winner throned like everyone's King of heart
The dialogues of the film are authentic and thoughtful too and a loud shout out for Swanand Kirkire, and R. Balki who threaded some surreal lines that were the talking points in the film. Whether it is 'Our country cricketers put two pads, but women don't even wear one during their periods'. Or another line which has a quirky take on women's menstrual issue as a 5 days test match, the writers had crafted humour along with a lot of intensity as well.
Director of Photography P.C. Sreeram has shot some picturesque scenes from rural backdrop as well as from the USA which are bang on. Editing of the film is smooth and flawless credits to the editor Chandan Arora. Production design head Rupin Suchak has crafted the sets to perfection literally taking us back in the 2001 era taking care of every minute details that the film's narrations demanded. Amitabh Bachchan's exquisite cameo is praiseworthy as he felicitates Laxmi at IIT Delhi career fest.
Overall the film is a soulful awakening giving a befitting reply to all the taboos revolving around women's menstrual issue. This eye-opener makes us think about the never spoken period issue. Give it a definite watch for such a worthy message and for our Nation's true superhero 'Padman'.