Filmmaker R. Balki says the biggest commercial element in his latest film PadMan is lead actor Akshay Kumar. Balki attended a panel discussion ‘Say No To Stigma And Taboos Period’, which was organised by the ladies wing of Indian Merchants Chamber (IMC) on Thursday here.
Balki was asked if he wasn’t tempted to make the movie in a commercial zone. “The biggest commercial element in PadMan is Akshay Kumar and he knew what he is getting into because I make a certain kind of films with a certain language of making it,” Balki said.
“I was very clear that this is not a film intended for people who know about it. This film is made to reach people who are not aware and who need to be sensitized. This includes both men and women. Therefore, the film has to be made in a certain language. If you see the emotion, setting and characters of the film, they are not in loud masala or slapstick zone but they are still commercial in the sense that they are expressing their emotions loudly as the language and message has to reach the people it is intended for,” he added.
Based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, PadMan is the story of how one man came up with a revolutionary method of producing cost-effective sanitary napkins and empowered thousands of women across the country in the process. Praising the actor, Balki explained the similarities he saw between Akshay and Muruganantham.
“We all know Akshay Kumar is a huge star and a good actor, but I think he is magnificent actor. Most people make lot of fuss about theories of acting, schools of acting and intellectualized cinema, he doesn’t do anything that’s why he is lot like Muruganatham. He just keeps on doing it and he doesn’t talk about it. When an actor doing a biopic of a person, it is very tempting for an actor to study his body language and to see how he talks or walks but Akshay didn’t look any of that. He just listened to what kind of character and human Murugantham is.
“He captured soul of the character and actually portrayed Muruganatham in Akshay Kumar style, capturing the essence of the character and that very few actors can do. Most actors are fantastic at capturing body languages of people but he didn’t do that.”
Bollywood celebrities like Deepika Padukone, Aamir Khan, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Anushka Sharma among a host of others have accepted the #PadManChallenge, in which they have clicked their photographs while holding up on sanitary pad in their hands.
On the industry support to menstruation hygiene from industry people, Balki said: “Actually, they are not trying to promote our film. I think they all got a chance to promote a cause. Our film happens to be about that cause. Nobody is saying ‘Pad Man’ is coming. People are talking about sanitary pads more openly now. How often Bollywood gets chance to promote a cause unless it’s for a film?”
PadMan, which released on Friday, is being produced by Twinkle Khanna, KriArj Entertainment and directed by R. Balki.