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‘Pad Man’ Akshay Kumar had to convince wife Twinkle Khanna to cast him in the film

The audience was buzzing with energy when ‘Khiladi’ Akshay Kumar and Twinkle ‘Funnybones’ Khanna visited HT City. Here are tidbits from the action-packed afternoon.

bollywood Updated: Feb 07, 2018 18:32 IST
Rishabh Suri
Rishabh Suri
Hindustan Times
Akshay Kumar,Pad Man,Padman
Husband-wife duo Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna visited HT House to meet the winners of HT City Stars In the City contest.(Amal KS/ HT)

He doesn’t fly, he doesn’t beat up 40 goons at once, he doesn’t even jump off high-rise buildings — yet he’s a superhero — Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who invented a machine to produce low-cost sanitary pads. And depicting him on screen in the upcoming film Pad Man is actor Akshay Kumar. It was a buzzing afternoon in HT House when he and his writer-producer wife Twinkle Khanna visited to meet the winners of HT City Stars In The City contest.

His entry to the office building itself was as dhaasu as it could get — he rode pillion on a bike with one of the motorcyclists of Bikerni , India’s largest women-only biking group, who then joined in the audience.

Twinkle Khanna was at her wittiest best when she came to meet the winners of the HT City Stars In The City contest. (Amal KS/ HT)

The duo, in conversation with Sonal Kalra, Managing Editor — Entertainment, Hindustan Times, made quite a few revelations.

Twinkle, who debuts as a producer with the film, said this could as well be the first and the last film she produces! “Most people start with becoming a producer, and then look for a script. I don’t know if I will produce a film ever again, but Pad Man’s story was so compelling. I decided to write about it in my book. But I realised, unfortunately, that we are a world of viewers rather than readers. If I wanted this subject to cut across India and globally, it would have to be through cinema,” she said.

Akshay Kumar also revealed that his new haircut is because of his next film, Kesari, for which he has to wear a heavy turban. Owing to the extreme temperature at the shooting location, he decided to go for this style! (Amal KS/ HT)

Much to everyone’s surprise, Akshay said that he had to try hard to convince Twinkle to let him play the reel-life Pad Man. “She wanted to make a small film. I requested ‘Mujhe le lo isme, main kaam karna chahunga!” he said. And Twinkle was fast to add, “It was a risky subject, so I earlier wanted to make just a small movie, because we were unsure whether we would be able to recover the investment, or the film would catch on with the people the way it has. I discussed it with him, and he was fascinated right from the beginning... It’s his finest performance.”

The eager fans and winners of the Stars In The City contest also got a chance to interact with Akshay and Twinkle. When asked whether he was apprehensive about taking up such a role, he said, “No. If you see the films I have made — Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Airlift, Rustom, Baby — they prove that what matters to me is to play different characters.”

Akshay also grooved to the romantic song Aaj Se Teri from Pad Man with his fans. (Amal KS/ HT)

Talking about the film’s title, Twinkle revealed that it was finalised in just “five minutes”. She said, “R. Balki (the director), Akshay and I were discussing it. I suggested to have something on the lines of a superhero, which will reach out to kids, and make people feel that they can come to watch the film with their families. Earlier, we thought about calling it ‘I- Pad’, then thought ki starting mein hi Apple (tech company) humein sue kar dega. (laughs). Then, Balki said ‘Pad Man’ and that was it!”

Also present was Jai Kishan Chillar, Bhondsi jail superintendent, who has collaborated with India Vision Foundation for a programme, wherein jail inmates make sanitary napkins and learn about menstrual hygiene. He said, “We have set up a unit in Gurgaon, which supplies sanitary napkins to Haryana, and our main target is to make it available to women in rural areas, who can’t afford to buy them.” Monica Dhawan, the director of the foundation thanked Akshay “for creating awareness about menstrual hygiene.

Akshay danced on the title track of Pad Man, much to the delight of everyone. (Amal KS/ HT)

When asked whether he has touched upon the taboos attached to menstruation in the film, for instance, women not being allowed to touch pickle, or going to temple while on their periods, Akshay said, “Pad Man is not a preachy film. I have not made a documentary! Like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which touched upon the issue of sanitation through a love story, this one, too, is simple but fun. You will laugh and enjoy the film, and hopefully take home some food for thought. Main film mein speech nahi de raha.”

The highlight of the session was Akshay breaking into a dance to the title track of Pad Man, with steps from his chartbuster song Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast from Mohra (1994).

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First Published: Feb 07, 2018 18:32 IST