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Earlier, I didn’t have enough money to support socially relevant cinema: Akshay

IANS | New Delhi |


Akshay Kumar is proud of his coming film Pad Man — a film highlighting awareness on menstrual hygiene. The actor says he always wanted to support socially relevant cinema, but couldn’t due to lack of funds.

The actor also added that there isn’t a single commercial film on sanitary pads, not even in Hollywood, as people shy away from discussing the topic in public.

“I always wanted to work and make such films but I was not a producer at that time. I didn’t have enough money, but now I can. My wife told me about Arunachalam Muruganantham and then we met R. Balki. So we thought about making this movie,” Akshay said while promoting Pad Man here on Monday.

“Even Hollywood does not have a single film on sanitary pads or menstrual hygiene. People always make documentaries but they don’t want to make commercial films because they want to shy away from the issue. We have tried to do that,” he added.

Akshay’s Pad Man — which marks his wife Twinkle Khanna’s maiden production venture — tells the story of a real-life superhero who invented a low-cost sanitary pad the manufacturing machine to bring a menstrual hygiene revolution for women.

The film is based on a short story from Twinkle’s book “The Legend Of Lakshmi Prasad”. The story is inspired by the life of Muruganantham, a Tamil Nadu-based social activist who revolutionized the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India by creating the low-cost sanitary napkins machine.

Its unique story, inspiring message and Akshay’s portrayal — once again — as a common man’s hero, has kept the anticipation level high for the R. Balki directorial, which also features Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte.

Talking about the film, Akshay said: “People are talking about the issue. The other day I was sitting in my vanity van and I heard two-three guys discuss the film. Have you seen men discuss menstrual hygiene?”

While many people, including Bollywood stars, are hailing the film, there are some who are criticising Akshay for talking about the issue in the open.

“When I see social media, I see two-three people saying ‘Akshay, bhai kya kar rahe ho aap? (what are you doing brother?)’, or ‘You are holding a sanitary pad. It is a sin’. Imagine some people think holding a sanitary pad is a sin.

“But at least now they are discussing, and there will be a day when it will change and it is the high time it should change. I would request everyone to write about it as a lot of things can change if you write about it. India needs this change.”

Were there any disagreements on the sets while working with Twinkle?

“No, there were no disagreements. She didn’t get upset about anything.”

Muruganantham, who was also a part of the press meet, expressed his views on the film made on his endeavor.

“I never thought a film will be made in my life and my work. When I used to say the word ‘menstruation’, people used to beat me up. Who would have thought that there would be a time when a film will be made in my life?”

The film is slated to open in India on Friday.