New Delhi: With the whole idea of linking women’s safety and dignity with open defecation penetrating deep into the Indian society, the problem of menstrual hygiene has silently been brewing alongside. And the Hindi cinema is one of the strong mediums that is trying to bring such topics in the mainstream through its movies. After actor Akshay Kumar finely articulated the grim issue of open defecation in Toilet- Ek Prem Katha, he is ready to break the stigma of menstruation in his upcoming flick ‘PadMan’.
Akshay Kumar who has always been vocal about issues that affect the Indian population at large, believes that sanitary napkins is a basic need and affordability shouldn’t come in the way and be a deprivation to anyone, “women should get sanitary napkins for free as it is a basic necessity for them.”
When asked whether he is going to reach out to the government to cut down the 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary napkins, the National Award-winning actor said that instead of cutting down the tax on pads, it should be made cost-free,
Why just cut down on GST? I think women should have free access to sanitary napkins. This is their basic necessity. It is about menstrual hygiene and not luxury, he said.
He also highlighted the poor menstrual awareness statistics and said, “It is unfortunate and I am ashamed to say that 82 per cent women in this country have no access to sanitary pads. Even if 5% of women out the 82% get educated through our film, I have won the battle.”
‘PadMan’, which is slated to release on January 25, is a biopic on a resident of Tamil Nadu Arunachalam Muruganantham who developed low-cost sanitary pad making machine in India and broke the taboo attached with menstruation in his region.
On asking what are the methods adopted to promote such a ‘sensitive’ problem, the actor said, “Firstly, do not call it a sensitive issue. It is a natural process of a human body. It is time to get rid of those taboos attached to it. It is time to treat the issue maturely. Also from the women’s end, they should not shy away from talking about the issue, and certainly should not whisper about it.”
One way to bring the silent issue in the mainstream is to celebrate it he said,
Girls are mistreated during those five days of their menstruation period. This is unfortunate… When you celebrate it, the girl who is already going through a physical and hormonal transition, will feel confident and secure. But we excluded our women from the normalcy of life during those five days. So from the first experience, women feel that period is something they should hide. So you know where we should start from.
The movie which is co-produced by Twinkle Khanna and directed by R. Balki also stars actor Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte.
With inputs from IANS