A rather jolly Hindi movie that tells of one man’s crusade to provide affordable sanitary protection for all women, Pad Man is certainly a one-off. Lakshmi (toothily played by Akshay Kumar) adores his demure wife, Gayatri (Radhika Apte), and is determined to make life easier for her when she is afflicted by her “five-day test match”. But in a culture in which death is preferable to shame for many women, Lakshmi’s puppyish enthusiasm for matters menses-related sees him ostracised from the village and estranged from his wife.
It’s a well-meaning picture that tackles taboo issues. And the real-life story on which this garlanded and prettified Bollywood version is based is genuinely life-affirming. Still, this menstrual marathon rather outstays its welcome, which, as any woman will concur, is not a good thing.
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