Padman Trailer: Mansplaining Menstruation

Remember how I was so sick yesterday I had to put up rerun posts?  Keep that in mind, it may have made me a bit irritable.

Well thank you Akshay for explaining how terrible menstruation is!!!!  I had NO IDEA!!!!  Yes, I have experienced it myself for the past 20 years, but until I heard a man’s voice telling me that it was painful and unhygienic, somehow that never occurred to me!  I thought it was all daisies and flowers and sunshine!

And, of course, in my silly female way, I didn’t want to use clean fresh pads to treat it.  I preferred to sit in my own filth and risk killer infections.  The same way, until I saw your Toilet film last year, I preferred to go to the fields once a day instead of having a toilet in my home.  Us silly women and our obsession with tradition!!!!!  Isn’t it true in all cultures?  Women, with their vast power over everything that happens in a society, force their backwards views on everyone else.  Okay,  maybe I am exaggerating, but certainly it’s true that women always have complete control over their own bodies!  To make women’s bodies into a battleground of culture and tradition and chastity and power, why, that would be LUDICROUS!  Obviously if we are not able to deal with our simple needs in the most straightforward and healthy way, it is our own choice.


So yes, I am feeling a little bitter about this.  Especially because it is so close, like Toilet, to being the film I want.  This is an important issue that needs to be addressed.  From two directions.  Hinduism, of course, has the “unclean” attitude towards women on their period which surely must be an added humiliation.  And second, there are serious health dangers to not using the right kind of supplies.  Which is something I learned from my mother (A WOMAN!!!  SHOCKING!) 20 years ago.

And I know in real life it is based on a man, so I’m not going to ask them to change that and make him a woman.  I just don’t want the plot beat of “I am going to invent this all on my own, it will be perfect, and women will turn it down because they are foolish”.  I want him to use his female relatives as a resource, a focus group.  Because after all, wouldn’t they know best?  And I want the women to be thrilled and immediately see the benefits and the MEN of the society to be the ones who resist and need to be beaten down and taught a lesson.  And I definitely don’t want the feeling that this whole movie, about the most female thing possible, is directed at men and explaining to men what is happening.

But yes, it is a clever trailer, especially the opening of it.  And Akshay’s character looks loveable.  And I love Radhika Apte ever since Kabali.  And Sonam wears glasses, that’s neat.  But also, GRRRRRRRRRRRR!


17 thoughts on “Padman Trailer: Mansplaining Menstruation

  1. Not mansplaining. This trailer looks condescending. Again, right on track with Akshay’s social conscience message movie roll. He’s got nothing else going for him.

    I haven’t watched toilet but that was also based on a true story. As is this. The actual dude is a humble south indian. So what you’re seeing is a punjabi/bambaiya/north Indian man act the part of a south indian innovator and that is why this feels mansplain-y. It’s just Akshay.

    The film is based on a book Twinkle wrote I guess. I don’t know how she treated the story in that so maybe it could be that the book didn’t capture the nuances of the real story.

    Coming to what Alisa is asking:

    Less than a decade ago, sanitary napkin ads ran with the tagline – dhona, sukhana, banana… Ab gaya woh zamana. (washing, drying, preparing… No more of that)

    Basically, the traditional sanitary pad was homemade from cotton cloth. It was tied around the waist like what you see sumo wrestlers wear because there was no concept of undies under the sari or salwaar.

    After use, the rags were cleaned and sterilised and reused. That’s how emergency pads are still constructed.

    Like everywhere else, sanitary pads and tampons are taxed heavily and a set of 8 pads from a multinational brand can cost around 150 bucks which is close to a day’s wages for the below poverty population.

    There are low cost pads available but those are still too expensive for many.

    As for taboos, men anywhere in the world are generally clueless about menstruation and sanitary pads and tampons. Add the traditional segregation of the sexes to it and it only gets worse. Thanks to social media, young boys aren’t shocked or embarrassed by the topic. For older people here, the list of polite conversation topics is very small anyway.


  2. My take on this is that men need to change and bring about the change in their mindset. If you are living in a village and it’s a patriarchal set up, for hundreds of years women are oppressed and the men aren’t even aware that they are being oppressive, that what they are doing is wrong. Women to a large extent are entrenched in the system, you believe with all your heart that you are not good enough, you are unclean 3 days a month, you stay away from the bed and the kitchen, sometimes even the house for the duration. God forbid there’s a puja room anywhere nearby, a religious function, you are an untouchable during the period. Worst part of it all? You believe it too, that you are too unclean to cook or pray. The system was not created by women but it is often the women who follow it with abiding sincerity.
    Sometimes the person who creates the mess must clean it up. I often think it’s the duty of men to end patriarchy. Destroy what they created and perpetuated. So here’s the thing the embarrassment of seeing a pad is real. Women in the family often instill in young girls that it’s unthinkable to have men see anything mensuration related. The pad is taboo as is mensural blood. When you go to buy a pad in a shop, they wrap it in newspaper then place it in a black cover because imagine the shame. It’s about the shame associated with men. So if a man breaks the stereotype and distributes pads to women who have no access to it? Women who use cloth and mud and leaves and stick. I’d say he is a hero.
    Women like us who grew up with mothers buying us pads or telling us how to,don’t need a hero like him, but for those women (88% of Indian women) who have no access to pads, he is the change they need.
    If it weren’t based on a real man who brought about positive change I might have agreed with you but here I’d say I appreciate this man and his effort. I’m honestly glad that it isn’t taboo anymore to name a movie “pad” man and a mainstream star has no qualms about acting in it. It’s a big big deal in the context of the Society.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Absolutely. But going back to your point that it is the responsibility of the people who created the problem to fix it, what is making me nervous are the small moments that seem similar to what ended up happening in Toilet. The women reject the solution, and they are the ones he has to convince to solve their own problem. Rather than confronting the male village elders who are the true villains.

      On Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 10:01 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. I am so conflicted about this movie. I read about Arunachalam Muruganantham a few years ago
    for the first time and I though his story was amazing. I also thought this would be such an awesome movie but didn’t think it would ever happen so I am glad it happened. Somehow though, I have a feeling Padman will fall short -the question for me is how short. For one thing, I get they’re trying to appeal to a pan-Indian crowd but changing his state completely is not a promising start.

    For those that are interested, here’s the article I read about him-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the article! That was fascinating. Maybe the difference is, the film feels like it is skating over the bits that it finds “yucky” about the story. Like, it’s one thing to leave your husband because you find him untraditional in his interests, it’s another to leave him because there are bloody clothes all over the house. Especially after years of this, not just a few months.


      • Exactly! After reading the story, I got why his wife would leave because while his goal was admirable, I could absolutely see why his actions would have made life very difficult for her. The trailer makes it seem like his wife thought the goal itself was a bad thing and I don’t think that’s the case. Are you planning on watching this? I ask completely selfishly because I’ll probably wait for your review before I decide if I want to watch this.


        • I am, as part of my “see every new Hindi film and review it” effort. The only reason I would miss it is if I get sick or my ceiling falls in or my floor goes away again or something. Right now my radiator is leaking, after the leak in my sink just got fixed. I had someone tell me that maybe I should look into crystals or something to control my water powers, which I thought was a joke, but now I am seriously considering it!

          Anyway, so long as my water powers don’t flood me out of my apartment AGAIN, I will be seeing Padman.

          On Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 11:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          • The first time your apartment floods, you think “well, bad luck, these things happen”. The 4th time (in the 3rd apartment), you start to wonder if it’s you. And it’s something different every time! The roof leaked which caused a ceiling collapse in the first one, and then the pipes burst twice (once in the ceiling and once in the floor) in the last one, and now every possible water outlet in this new one is leaking slightly, radiator and sink and bathtub.

            So thank you! Good vibes are clearly needed.

            On Fri, Dec 15, 2017 at 12:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

  4. Twinkle Khanna & Arunachalam Muruganantham talk about Menstruation- the tax, the taboo, the lack of access to basic hygiene, the fact that 20% girls drop out of school in India on reaching puberty. In conversation with Barkha Dutt at #WeTheWomen UN sponsored conference in Mumbai


  5. Einthusian added Phullu, a movie from few months ago, about the same topic. Simple guy discovers periods and try do do something for women, but they are against. Seems like well done film, but if I understood well it has A rating, so nobody has seen it.
    Here is the trailer:


  6. Pingback: Padman Review (SPOILERS): Three Versions of a Story, Real and Book and Film | dontcallitbollywood

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