The 2017 release Phullu also revolved around the topic of menstrual hygiene in India.
India witnessed a sanitary napkin revolution sometime in 2006 when a social entrepreneur hailing from Coimbatore got recognition for his low-cost machine that makes affordable sanitary napkins.
Arunachalam Muruganantham's story also caught the fancy of filmmakers. Soon his hardships and achievements will be on the silver screen, all thanks to actor Akshay Kumar, who will tell the tale in the film Padman, releasing on January 25.
But Padman is not the only film revolving around the subject of menstrual hygiene in India. Director Abhishek Saxena tried his hand at a similar topic in 2017. However, the film does not revolve around the life of Muruganantham and nor is it a biopic but is a director’s take on the subject of menstrual hygiene in India.
Although Saxena’s version on the same issue is fictional, it is inspired by real life experiences that is brought on the reel to make audiences aware that in India women in more than 50 percent villages have no idea about the existence of sanitary napkins.
Is the subject worth taking a risk?
With more and more filmmakers opting for social subjects and such movies witnessing strong numbers at the box office, many directors are picking up social issues for their new ventures.
In fact, for Akshay Kumar, this would be another attempt at this genre after the success of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which was made on a budget of Rs 75 crore and did business of Rs 132 crore.
In an earlier interview to Moneycontrol, Mukta Arts MD Rahul Puri had said that the underlying social relevance of such films has not been missed by movie-goers, critics and the trade.
“Audiences will always embrace a socially relevant subject. The history of cinema is testament to this fact. Something that has great resonance with the audience is something that can trigger empathy for characters and make their journey’s all the more valuable to see,” he had said.
However, Phullu did not create any magic on the big screen and went unnoticed last year. The film could only generate Rs 4.50 lakh worth of revenues. According to film critics, the film failed because of average screenplay, weak script and poor cinematography.
Two films- one topic: How important is the subject of menstrual hygiene?Despite the availability of sanitary napkins in the commercial market, only 12 percent of Indian women can afford and nearly 80 percent of Indian women do not use sanitary pads. And affordability is not the only issue, in fact accessibility is a bigger one for many women.