PadMan became one of the most talked about films of Bollywood this year and its not due to its actors or the screenplay. All the attention it got was due to Akshay Kumar’s push to make it more than just a film. As a man fast getting box office hits due to his social films, one wonders what happens after the limelight fades away taking the stardom fuel from the cause. What is the future to the sanitation awareness campaign that Kumar and his PadMan cast amassed with their Padman challenge and distribution of pads in schools? Kumar seems to have a shaky blueprint for the cause and its future.
“Two days back I had opened sanitary vending machines in all State Transport bus stands. Around 120 depots will be having these machines,” said Kumar during an interview adding that these will increase access to sanitary napkins for those coming from rural areas. But that is not where he is stopping. The actor added, “The World Bank is going to show PadMan in every village of India free of cost. There are 6,42,000 villages in India and they are going to show it free of cost in every single one of them. I just want them to come and watch the film.”
The star holds a strong belief that his films Toilet Ek Prem Katha and PadMan are creating ripples socially because their message come in the most absorbable form, entertainment. “Nobody wants to hear speeches. Don’t do the mistake of giving speeches. They don’t want to listen to a politician, they don’t want to listen to an actor, they just pick up ideas from the film. Entertainment is the best way to pick up ideas.” He then went on to say that a year later he plans to release numbers on sanitary pads use in India and hopes that it will drop to lower than the current 88%.
As to taking up another social cause for his next, he simply replied, “I now want to work on Housefull. It is going to be three months of vacation for me,” referring to the Sajid Khan directed hit adult comedy franchise. The star seems to want to take a break from the doldrums of doing social cause centric films but that does not entirely eliminate the idea of doing one again. On his wife Twinkle Khanna’s comment on planning to work on reproductive rights, he played the ignorant card. “She plans her own things and then later on she is like ‘surprise!’”
While Kumar may not be aware of his producer wife’s plans, he for the time being seems set on continuing to promote PadMan and its message well after its release.