Since its conception, Pad Man has attracted curiosity and praise for taking up the tabooed yet important subject of menstruation. The movie is based on the true story of a man who emerged as a societal hero by improving menstrual hygiene conditions in his village. The makers of Pad Man have been calling it more of a “movement” rather than just a film. Their claim is being justified through their unique promotional efforts and the change that they have started to inspire even before the release of the movie.
1. Distribution of Sanitary Napkins
As part of Pad Man‘s most recent promotional activities, Sonam Kapoor, with director R. Balki distributed sanitary napkins to school girls. The actor also initiated an interactive session to make the students more aware of menstrual hygiene. The effort was directed at encouraging young girls to talk about the problems that they face instead of shying away from the topic.
2. Special Screening
Pad Man is the first Indian movie that has been showcased at the Oxford Union, the world-renowned debating society in London. Before the screening on January 18, co-producer Twinkle Khanna spoke about menstrual taboos and period poverty in India, highlighting how it can affect the overall progress of a country. The filmmakers have also declared special screenings of the movie in rural areas to deliver the message directly where it’s most needed.
3. The Idea of Menstrual Kits
Akshay Kumar appeared on the sets of a comedy show to promote Pad Man. Talking about the struggles faced by women during menstruation, he brought up the idea of making menstrual kits as important as first-aid kits in all working environments.
4. Appeal for Removing GST on Sanitary Pads
The movie inspired a group of students in Gwalior to focus on an appeal to remove GST on sanitary pads. The students launched their campaign in a unique way by writing messages to the Prime Minister on sanitary napkins. The messages urged him to eliminate the 12% Goods and Services Tax imposed on these products.
5. Auction to Raise Funds for Menstrual Hygiene
Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna have decided to auction the iconic bicycle from the movie. The funds that are raised would be transferred to an NGO called Population First. It would work towards the cause of improving awareness about menstrual hygiene among rural women.
6. Kullu’s Menstrual Hygiene Campaign
Pad Man‘s efforts to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene has brought about an administrative campaign in Himachal’s Kullu region. The campaign focuses on dealing with misconceptions specific to the region. It includes traditions that force menstruating women in many parts of Kullu to live in separate rooms or in cowsheds! The campaign would also deal with the issues that prevent these women from buying sanitary products.
This is not the first time Akshay Kumar has turned into more than a filmy hero. His last movie, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha spoke of the lack of toilets in India. The movie was successful in initiating a social campaign and bringing about a positive revolution in the country.