Pad Man raises some pertinent questions on women's menstrual cycles. Do men
know all about the same? Do women still feel ashamed to ask for sanitary pads
at the medical store?
Well, we spoke to 15 people from across Mumbai to ask about these "hard" questions. And of course, would they watch the movie or not! Here's what they had to say...
Madhu Bhatia Mehta (Medical Professional)
Yes. I think the society should be aware of pads and all that women go through during periods. Our society thinks it's a bad thing. Especially in villages, it's more than that. They don't allow women to enter the kitchen also and make them sit in one corner as if they have committed some sin. It's a very natural process and periods are God's gift to women. It's nothing that we women have created on our own.
I think it's really good that the whole society should be aware of this how a woman goes through these 5 painful days. In fact, the society should support the women in these days instead of treating them as social outcastes.
Of course there should not be any tax on pads. It's for all women over the world - the rich and the poor. In fact, it should be made available at a reasonable rate, because this is a universal need of every woman.
Aditya Sharma (IT Professional)
I believe it's a positive step towards breaking the taboo that has been in our country for years. For centuries women have been calling periods everything apart from their real name. Let's begin by calling 'periods' periods.
Like acknowledging the fact that all women bleed every month for 4-5 days is something that shouldn’t be hidden. The irony is everyone knows about it! So if Pad Man breaks the stigma of periods in our country we should welcome it and moreover, accept it.
But on the other hand, the problem of periods cannot be solved by taking a pad and posting it online. It's much deep rooted. Over 90% of women cannot access sanitary napkins and do not have much of a choice. The pads that are made available levy taxes, which make pads unaffordable for the lower middle class strata.
But, I would still like to believe this movie can make us aware of the very fact that by not letting women go to temples, lie on bed, or something as simple as touching a pickle, won't solve anything – but educating them and giving them hygienic and economical sanitary options will. I hope people will look at the movie in the right manner.
Rupal Gune (Public Relations)
The issue discussed in Pad Man is interesting, provided the message in the film is clear. I hope the subject is the hero and not the actor.
Awareness on menstruation has suddenly become the hot topic, don't know why. Also other actors holding the sanitary napkin and posting on social media makes no sense.
I would love to go for the film but tickets are just too expensive.
For years, women, especially in rural areas and low income groups have been affected by the unavailability of sanitary pads for several reasons. It's good to see that finally someone has come forward to highlight this issue. People should stop considering this subject as a taboo and realise that it is just a natural process and not something to be ashamed of.
I definitely want to watch the movie.
Sheetal Shah (Senior Process Outsourcing Professional)
It's high time to discuss these types of issues in public. India is progressing. Also, government should change the GST slab to zero on pads only then will it reach all corners of India. If there is no shame about talking of motherhood, then why shy while talking about pads and menstrual cycles? It's a natural process created for all women. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Yes, I will be going for the movie.
Diksha Punjabi (Public Relations)
The issue raised in the movie Pad Man, is a concern not restricted to just one woman. It entails the entire society. Also, it's not a lifestyle option. Women have to deal with it. It's something we cannot ignore.
Working ladies have been travelling and moving around through the day, and all we want is to have a hygienic lifestyle. It's not an issue that we need to hide from. It's not something that we should think as taboo. You cannot isolate women from their daily duties of life for 3 days, or howsoever number of days it is.
Hygiene for a lady is something that has to be given to her without any questions asked. It's amazing how this movie has brought a lot of attention to this particular cause. There is so much of positivity coming around it.
I will surely go and watch the movie as it concerns me. Also, the energy that the movie has got among the people is amazing. It's more of edu-tainment for me, and hence I will surely watch it.
Chani Singh (Radio Professional)
There are many areas in our country which are still deprived of basics, such as electricity, sewage system, etc. People in these areas are living as primitives. As a country having a 48.5% women population, the topic of mensuration has been a taboo. Most people are unaware of the way of keeping oneself hygienic. It is very important to openly discuss and spread awareness about it. It's a natural process, showing a woman's fertility. It should be celebrated not hidden.
There are various types of things that can be used during menstruation – pads being one of the widely used ones. Periods come every month. Pads should thus be affordable and with no tax whatsoever. I also hope that the bigger companies take this up a CSR activity and distribute or contribute pads not just in rural but in urban areas as well. Proper disposal should also be taught. Awareness has to be spread. And that can happen only if we are open about the subject.
Movies are a wonderful way to spread awareness. Hence, Pad Man is a movie worth watching. Movies reach the remotest part of the country, therefore proving it to be a wonderful medium.
Garima Bhatia (Media Professional)
The topic discussed in Pad Man is necessary. Because we can't spend entire lives being embarrassed about a natural body function. Also, it cannot be treated as a taboo.
But the fact that a male actor is needed to highlight a women's health topic is strange, however, a good idea.
And tax on sanitary napkins or tampons is one very stupid move by the government.
I will surely go to watch the film. Possibly, I will take a couple of male friends along with me – especially the ones those are queasy about the whole topic.
Sheeba Shukla (Public Relations)
Yes, I will definitely watch Pad Man. Reason being it's Akshay Kumar and R Balki. Also, I don't know much about this man who made a woman's life so easy and hygienic, Mr. Arunachalam Muruganatham. So I would want to know more about him.
As we have seen in Toilet - Ek Prem Katha, the subject was quite preachy and so is Pad Man, but with this great duo (Balki & Kumar) I feel it will have a pinch of humour, drama and pathos.
Bollywood has traditionally adapted such topics in the past, but nowadays it's finding stories with a social message which are increasingly being accepted by audiences. I am excited about Pad Man.
Anisha Jenyfer Solomon (Educational Writer)
It's high time we stop being silent about issues such as periods, rape or sex. The young generation need to know these things exist. Kids should be educated enough at young age. Girls need to know that there's nothing embarrassing about periods and boys need to know the same.
There shouldn't be any tax on sanitary pads, etc because it is a natural process. It's almost like putting tax on breathing. Can you stop that? It's not really a choice. Therefore, applying tax on necessary things like sanitary pads shows how restricted and uneducated our government is.
However, I don't stand by the act of celebrities posing with pads just for the sake of it. I would love to know what happens after the celebrities pose with it. Mostly they go to the bin. It's sheer wastage.
Talking of the film, I would surely want to watch it.
Seema Singh (Television anchor)
I have come across many incidents where male teachers have been uncomfortable teaching menstruation to the class. In fact, few female teachers also hesitate to openly discuss this scientific behaviour of the body as not only girls but boys are also sitting in the same class.
I think Akshay Kumar's idea of getting Pad Man to educate the society will definitely help us also to get open and discuss menstruation.
I will take my students to watch Pad Man.
Pooja Singh (Senior Celebrity Manager)
I totally support the issue discussed and brought forward in public through Pad Man. It is highly needed now for the family to understand the pain borne by their daughters, wives and mothers.
Still being in the modern era we girls are not so comfortable discussing on menstruation or showing the pain in front of our fathers, brothers and male friends. We don't keep our sanitary napkins openly in our house – either we hide it or keep it locked in cupboards.
And we still feel ashamed asking for pads to the shopkeeper. So I appreciate Akshay Kumar for bringing such issues in public and I have confidence that after watching this movie, our mentality will genuinely change and our coming female generation will not face this issue as we did.
I will definitely watch the movie with my whole family. May I add that the government should make the movie tax free.
Himanshu Singh (MBA Graduate Student)
The issue discussed in Pad Man is still a serious problem in rural and some semi-urban areas where societies don’t accept such kind of conversations. For decades now, there has been a major stigma attached to the discussion of menstrual troubles in our country. This, in a country where barely 12% of our menstruating women use sanitary pads!
While most women are not allowed to visit temples during their periods, others are treated as untouchables within the premises of their own houses. Ridiculous!
This movie will surely bring some change in our society.
Zarina Merchant (Personal Secretary)
The whole menstrual process is as natural as eating, drinking and sleeping yet we fear even talking about it openly. Poverty, inadequate sanitary facilities, lack of health education and the culture of silence created by our ancestors creates an environment in which females are denied their basic right to stay clean.
I will watch the film hundred per cent.
Harshit Vora (Business Development Manager)
I think Akshay Kumar always comes up with a subject which not only entertains the society but also educates. It will be exciting to watch the movie being a guy. As a guy, it's always a question in our minds that what menstruation actually is.
I belong to a Marwari family where it's still a taboo. I have noticed my mother and sisters to be uncomfortable in those days. As they don't go to temple, don't touch pickles, don't work.
I am hoping to get all the answers in the film.