R Balki directed Akshay Kumar starrer Padman has released today. The film is a based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganatham, the inventor of low-cost sanitary pads manufacturing machine. Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte play prominent characters in the film. The film was slated to release on the Republic Day weekend, but to avoid the clash with another big film Padmaavat, the dates were shifted. The eager fans had to wait a little longer. So let us see if the movie is worth the wait. Check out what some leading critics have to say about the film.
Times of India: Padman often seems like a Public Service Advertisement parading as a commercial film. In order to appeal to the lowest common denominator, things are over-explained and all of this results in a sluggish progression of events. Balki struggles to maintain a balance as it's not easy to entertain, spread awareness and sensitize people about the issue, all at one go. His semi-humorous and urban outlook at a predominantly rural issue, isn't seamless as the script often meanders but he redeems himself in scenes that convey a lot more through unspoken words. Radhika Apte portrays her part beautifully, making her character relatable to the section of women, who still face such societal taboos. Sonam Kapoor too lights up the screen with her candour and makes her presence felt in a significant role. Known for making films that work towards bridging the age and gender gap, Balki's Padman is an empowering film that gives you the wings, despite the odds.
Firstpost: The divide between the 'classes' and the 'masses' plays a character in the film as well. R Balki and Swanand Kirkire creatively deconstruct Khanna's short story and then build a narrative of their own. The film is aptly divided into two symbolic halves. While the pre-interval portion focuses on the countryside, the post-interval bit transports the viewers to New Delhi and Indore for the most part. In a strange twist of events, this film suffers from the curse of the first half. The norm these days has been to falter in the second half but Padman makes for an exception. Overall, Padman packs in a lot of meat within 2.5 hours but most of it is the concentrated second half whereas the first one stands diluted. Balki's direction elevates the film almost as much as Kumar's charged portrayal. It is certainly one of the best in his career so far.
NDTV: Until the intermission, the film remains largely true to Arunachalam's real-life story. But despite the undeniable urgency of Lakshmi's onerous mission, neither the single-minded reformer nor the goal that he sets himself assumes the heft it should have.This, however, has little to do with the overall quality of the film. PadMan is well-made; the writing (by the director himself with additional inputs from Swanand Kirkire) is generally neat, and both the cinematography (P.C. Sreeram) and the editing (Chandan Arora) are first-rate. PadMan is by no means a bad film hiding behind the cloak of social relevance. The most off-putting aspect of PadMan are its uneven tonal shifts: it goes back and forth between being earnest and facetious, when it isn't jarringly ceremonial. PadMan is a well-intentioned film that derives strength from Akshay Kumar's gusty performance although he isn't strictly the right fit for the role of a just-married man. Radhika Apte is, as always, a scene-stealer. She contributes majorly to ensuring that the exchanges between the protagonist and his wife do not veer into corniness. Sonam Kapoor, who surfaces well into the second half, makes the most of the limited opportunity.
Hindustan Times: PadMan begins on a slow note and drags on for some time before picking up the pace. The characters in the supporting cast seem to be in a race for overacting - be it Akshay’s onscreen mom or random background characters in every frame, they look like they were simply lifted from a 60s movie. However, the film forces you to look at the big picture. The film tackles the “shame” that our society insists on imposing on periods, head on. From women being ostracised during “that time of the month” to young girls shying away from school to avoid any “embarrassment”, co-writer Balki and Swanand Kirkire have managed to put it all out exactly as it is. Sonam makes quite a late entry in the narrative, but adds charm to every frame she inhabits. Her character is beautifully etched, perhaps to balance Radhika’s naive and self-destructive wife. Akshay tries his best to be the superhero he has come to be identified within his films.
Swara Bhaskar has lauded the film and performances
#padman Uplifting, empowering, hopeful, fun & thought provoking.. R v too quick to judge people illogically because r minds r closed by archaic notions like Shame? Kudos #RBalki sir, @mrsfunnybones @swanandkirkire thank uuuuu 4 telling this story 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾❤️❤️❤️
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) February 6, 2018
Such wonderful performances in #padman Loved @akshaykumar sir’s earnest lovable turn, @radhika_apte ‘s fantastic conviction & @sonamakapoor u shine with such an easy breezy warm performance bringing such energy and life to this happy hopeful tale. Congrats all 👏🏾👏🏾❤️❤️
— Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) February 6, 2018
The meta-review of the film tells us that overall the film handles the social issue quite well and needs to be watched by everyone. The audience in the Gulf areas were impressed by the film. Do you think Akshay Kumar as Padman kind of superhero will work for the audience? Do let us know if you are planning to watch the film.