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Pad Man director R Balki: It is a children’s film, and must be seen with families

R Balki, who has directed the Akshay Kumar-starrer Pad Man, feels that more than dealing with a taboo subject in society, the bigger responsibility for a filmmaker is to entertain the audience.

bollywood Updated: Jan 17, 2018 12:09 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
R Balki,Pad Man,PadMan
Filmmaker R Balki has teamed up with actor Akshay Kumar for Pad Man, a film on revolutionising rural menstrual hygiene. (HT Photo)

Filmmaker R Balki got everyone’s attention when he announced that he’d direct Pad Man, starring Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, based on the life of Tamil Nadu’s Arunachalam Muruganantham, who brought about a revolution of sorts by inventing a way to manufacture low-cost sanitary napkins for rural Indian women. With Pad Man nearing its release (on the Republic Day weekend), Balki says that he wants as many people to watch the film as possible, because it’s not an awkward film but an absolute family entertainer.

“Pad Man is a children’s film, and must be seen with families, young kids — sons and daughters. The moment you call this an adult topic, the whole purpose is defeated. Menstruation is as natural a phenomenon as growing a beard is. It’s a natural process and there’s nothing to hide,” says Balki, adding that the film doesn’t treat or show menstruation as a dangerous thing.

Balki asserts that the film’s role and aim is to “make people aware”, but not through any heavy-handed message. He explains, “It’s a very light, non-preachy film, and it talks about a perceived taboo subject in a simple manner. I don’t expect people to watch it just because it deals with a particular idea or subject. We don’t want to teach or preach. It’s pure entertainment that shows the incredible journey of a man whose resilience brought about a change in society.”

Asked if it becomes an added responsibility for a filmmaker when a sensitive topic is being touched upon, Balki says that’s the case with any social subject, but a filmmaker’s bigger responsibility is to entertain the audience. “A filmmaker shouldn’t even get into those little territories without understanding the responsibility, but, at the same time, we shouldn’t be overweighed by those responsibilities and take the entertainment away,” he states. “Finally, if you want people not to look at it so heavily, as everybody is looking at it, you have to lighten up first. And that doesn’t mean being irresponsible. It means people should get the point without feeling the gravity.”

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First Published: Jan 17, 2018 12:09 IST