Films with a social message come with an additional baggage. They either get preachy or lose their message some half way through. But R. Balki’s Padman hits the bull’s eye. It not only entertains but also delivers its strong message in the finest way possible. A very difficult film to write, Padman has all the ingredients of a ‘must-watch-film’ right from its ideation, to the target audience, till the technicalities and performances.
Based on the life of Padmashri Arunachalam Murugunantham, the man who single handedly carried on with the task of facilitating the women of the country with low cost sanitary pads, Padman takes you through the inspiring journey of Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) who struggles to change the mentality of people around him including his wife Gayatri (Radhika Apte).
First things first. Hats off to the writers for an impeccable script. With not one scene seeming out of place, its a very intelligent piece on paper given the tricky subject. The plot involves the dialogue on gender, the mentality, orthodox notions of society, sticking to one’s principles, determination to work for others, and of course with an entertainment value. The film gets down to main detailing without wasting any time. Coming to think of it, its not a cakewalk. But the writers have nailed it. Giving full support is a marvelous screenplay that in every scene makes you move along with the character. Its the fine detailing in the scenes that even during the moments which evoke humor contain pathos and you relate to the protagonist. His conflict becomes your struggle. His idea becomes your smile. His tears become your sorrow. And that’s what intelligent film-making is.
There are also junctures in the film that talk about taboo of our society. There’s a very fine line between delivering the right message and going vulgar. But you only end up applauding the makers for what they serve.
Also with some very moving scenes, you actually go back in your thoughts and stop to think of the real man- the inspiring force for this film. You weep for the real man, as a result of which your heart reaches out to your lead here.
Rightly deserving the mention, two scenes shine bright. One where Lakshmikant asks Pari (Sonam Kapoor) for her feedback on the pads- Akshay’s expressions are to die for. Also the speech delivered by Lakshmi before American audience wrenches your heart.
Also, there’s an angle in the story that does seem unwanted, but the makers sealing even that makes you want to appreciate them once again.
Akshay Kumar is striking gold with every film he touches. With Midas touch, he shines in every frame. Mind you, every frame. He’s just too good in his restricted performance. Also kudos to the makers for even giving a thought on character graph, where Akshay’s hair have grown white over the years. Akshay wins this one- with his portrayal so neat and perfect that he makes you laugh, weep, and with his earnestness drives you along. Radhika Apte is fresh and her character too has layers. Like every film, she delivers a brilliant performance. Coming as a surprise is Sonam Kapoor, one of the best supporting roles to have come lately. She looks good, performs ably and gives full justice to what the character demands. The film also has an array of supporting cast and they all have done a brilliant job, adding either tensions or conflicts or may be some relief to the main characters. Akshay’s sisters, his mother, Radhika’s brother, Akshay’s friends, Sonam’s father, and so on- they have made their respective marks.
Production design is up-to the mark and suit the standard. Music however could have been better. There’s no song with a recall value. Background score is reasonably good.
It rarely happens that a film brings about a change in society. An added feather would be- if Padman successfully strikes the right chord. It does have potential and all the merits to go and make a mark out loud wide. With statistics in our country still lagging, the issue needs to be discussed out loud in open. The film hence deserves to be watched with all family- in hope. Wish Phullu starring Sharib Hashmi won hearts.