Indian critics think PadMan could have been a better movie

Indian critics think PadMan could have been a better movie

Padman often seems like a Public Service Advertisement parading as a commercial film, writes one critic
12 Feb, 2018

Akshay Kumar's second consecutive film-for-a-cause PadMan released last weekend, and Indian critics aren't terribly impressed.

Also read: Bill Gates gives Akshay Kumar's Toilet: Ek Prem Katha a shout-out on Twitter

While critics agree that the film is a well-intentioned project, what everyone wanted to see was how it adds to the little conversation India has on a taboo topic and how it's different from Menstrual Man, the documentary made on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, on whom the film is based.

Here's what they thought:

Times of India thinks PadMan was less film, more PSA

"Given the constant mention of statistics pertaining to the inadequate percentage of women who use pads in India, and reiteration of the film's issue based motive, Padman often seems like a Public Service Advertisement parading as a commercial film. In order to appeal to the lowest common denominator, things are over-explained and all of this results in a sluggish progression of events. However, given how awkward women are made to feel even today while buying sanitary pads from a medical store, this social drama makes for an important film that needs to be watched."

The Hindu thinks Arunachalam Muruganantham's story could have been told much better

"Arunachalam Muruganantham's deep-rooted wit shines through in Amit Virmani’s documentary Menstrual Man as you see him making a light of the worst ordeals in his life. The idiosyncrasy and ingenuity could have led to a compelling biographical portrait on screen. Unfortunately R. Balki drowns out all the delightful drollness and quirks in overt piety and dreary melodrama. Akshay Kumar’s Lakshmikant then is not even half as intriguing as India’s real Pad Man."

Filmfare was all praise for Radhika Apte

"Though he looks twice her size, there is real chemistry between Akshay and Radhika. Their interactions breathes life into the film.

Radhika brings out the nuances of rural housewife who despite being in love with her husband can't bring herself to let go of age-old norms. There is a certain stigma attached to periods and the actress brings it to the fore quite nicely. She can't comprehend why her husband is so concerned about something which by and large is seen as a woman's 'problem'."

Rediff Movies think Sonam Kapoor's character was misused in the film

"PadMan dramatises his reality to accommodate romance and distinction with a calculation that is one of the weakest aspects of an otherwise constructive narrative.

Serving as catalyst to this purpose, Sonam Kapoor contributes with her sartorial elegance and appears at home in her character's urban, rational and humanitarian sensibilities. But Balki's need to complicate her platonic equation with Akshay leaves the viewer both confused and distracted."

The Indian Express thinks the film was too much about Akshay Kumar

"PadMan's solution of ‘have-pad-will-solve-menstrual-problems’ is simplistic, and yes, patriarchal. A little nuance (about how menstruation is not just a physically painful occurrence but an instrument to keep women firmly in their place) would have gone a long way in making PadMan deeper and more satisfyingly complex, but this is not that kind of film.

It is the kind of film which has to focus on its big male star for obvious reasons. We are left with the man of the movie, and the reason why this film has been made. Akshay gets fully into the role while trying to get in touch with the ‘feminine’ side of him, with some nice strokes: he is the film, in a sense, and he is both earnest and likeable enough, even if he is in familiar do-good mode, and even if we wish his women looked his age. And, even more crucially, that PadMan paid as much attention to its medium as its message."