Director: R. Balki
Star Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
Runtime: 2h 20min
Padman is a story which can be narrated in a single line but the team behind this tries to add every ingredient to make this connect with everyone. Lakshmikant Chauhan (Akshay Kumar) is the man who wants to create pads for his wife and family. Being in the middle-class zone, the branded pads come under the luxury section for Lakshmi’s family.
Living amidst people of a total orthodox thinking makes Lakshmi attempts some unthinkable steps. Padman is not just about this journey of a man who makes pads, it spotlights the issues wrong with people’s thinking. Lakshmi starts his journey tackling many failures and moves on to success.
The script of the film Pad Man dances on a tightrope, what could’ve been an extremely preachy attempt manages to entertain you most of the time. Written by the director, R. Balki himself the story stays honest with itself. “Charas gaanja de rahe ho kya?” Akshay’s character says in a scene while purchasing pads from a medical shop. So, there are ample of such moments accurately portraying what’s been wrong with our thinking since ages.
The process of making the pad machine has been so amazingly displayed by Balki. The final speech by Akshay Kumar is surely going to be one of the best scenes this year. The makers start the film by addressing Amitabh Bachchan as a superhero but his cameo has a minimal impact. Based in the year 2001, set in some remote area, Balki might’ve done his homework well to portray such strong reactions by the people living in the film apart from Akshay Kumar. Situations do go over the top many-a-times, mostly in the first half, but I can give makers a benefit of doubt.
Akshay Kumar, once again, lives his role as Lakshmikant Chauhan. His never-ending appetite for making things work for his family really makes you feel for him. He implants his trademarked innocence to the character making it even more lovable. Not his best performance, but surely one of the best.
Radhika Apte is earthy with her presence but she has got a lot of tears to shed. Crying almost in every scene, she raises the bar of being over-dramatic. Overall, a fine job but she deserved a better-written character.
Sonam Kapoor is pretty bold and bouncy in her small appearance and surely sparks the chemistry with Akshay. She was last seen with Akshay in Thank You which never made me go high with the hopes of their chemistry in this one, but in the end, it surely surprised me.
R. Balki has this habit of writing his own films and with Pad Man it has actually proved beneficial for the film. The story required the same guy for both given its sensitive subject. Balki has made sure to say things in a way everyone understands without getting uncomfortable. Some might feel thorny about some scenes but that’s what a film with such subject comes with. Making a mother say “Kitna dubla ho gaya” on seeing his son’s photo after years in a newspaper is what Padman offers you.
Music by Amit Trivedi is a hidden gem of Padman. It’s there and it’s very good but very few will get it because it’s piled under numerous layers such as story, performances, screenplay and narration. It starts with a melodious song in Aaj Se Teri and ends on a goofy title track having a couple of good tracks in between.
For those who’re thinking if you could connect with the message of Pad Man, trust me you will. Every good thing comes with an expiry date and enjoy this era of Akshay Kumar till it lasts (Hope it’s here for a couple of more decades).