Twinkle Khanna: It was challenging to finance Padman
Twinkle Khanna who produced Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman, said that there were many people who questioned her decision to back a movie which supported the cause of menstrual hygiene
Twinkle Khanna, who produced Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman, said on Friday that there were many people who questioned her decision to back a movie which supported the cause of menstrual hygiene. Padman is inspired by the life of Tamil Nadu-based Arunachalam Muruganantham, who created affordable sanitary napkins for the women of his village.
The film, directed by R Balki, had Akshay playing the central character. It is based on the short story, The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land from Twinkle's book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad. "When I started making the film, a lot of people said, 'Are you crazy? Who is going to watch a film on menstruation? People don't talk about it.' That was the challenge- to find people who would be ready to finance a film like this.
"As a team, we were determined and we realised the impact (of the film) as the government announced that they are installing sanitary pads vending machine at railway stations and there was an impact on the GST. We did play a small part in bringing that about," Twinkle said at an event. The film, which released in January this year, earned over Rs 100 crore at the box office.
Twinkle, 43, has been roped in as an artiste ambassador by Save the Children, a leading Child Rights NGO in India, to champion the cause of adolescent health and menstrual hygiene.
Twinkle on Friday visited the slum area in Govandi to interact with adolescents, who are part of Save the Children and its partner agency Apnalaya in creating awareness. "I created awareness through columns and a movie. We needed to do a ground work and it was great to be a part of Save the Children. Also, we got to know that 20 per cent of school girls drop out because they hit puberty and they do that because of the taboo around menstruation. They do not have access to low-cost sanitary pads."
Citing the example of a 12-year-old girl from South India, who committed suicide after she was reprimanded by her teacher as her uniform was stained, Twinkle said there is a need to change the mindset. "It was gratifying to see what they (Save the Children and Apnalaya) did in Govandi, they were not only educating girls but boys also. That is important as we live in a patriarchal society, where men are controlling the household."
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