R Balki: Akshay Kumar is a very non-intellectual actor
R. Balki, a renowned name in commercial ad world has given us some noteworthy creative & message-driven ads, making popular tag lines like Surf Excel - Dag acche hai to Idea's ‘What an idea sirjee?’, and many more. The ad campaign ‘Jagoo Re’, created by Balki, became a movement on its own. While he charmed us in ad world, Balki also made a distinct mark with his different storytelling & subjects. In fact the subjects that he chose were untouched upon, yet they could connect with the audiences.
Now the Ad Man R Balki is turning towards PAD MAN, based on a taboo topic of menstrual hygiene.
PAD MAN is helmed by ace director R. Balki who has given us some amazing films in the past like, CHEENI KUM, PAA, SHAMITABH and KI AND KA and this is the first time adman and filmmaker R Balki will attempt a biopic with Akshay Kumar which is based on the life of the low-cost sanitary pad manufacturer, A Muruganantham. Balki touched upon a taboo topic and makes sure that film creates awareness.
R Balki was sure that Akshay Kumar would be justifying as a character. During media interaction with R Balki when asked R Balki if not Akshay Kumar who would be apt for the role, he said, “He was the only fellow in front of me so why won’t I think of him. Akshay asked me if I wanted to do a film on this topic. I thought about it and my problem was not anything to do with any actor but whether I should do a biopic or not. Then I realized that I will never get an opportunity to do a film on the topic of menstrual hygiene and it will be the first film of its kind in the world on a commercial level. Akshay solved my casting problem. Nobody could have played the role except Akshay. I like the way he is. He is very simplistic in his thinking, very non-intellectual. He doesn’t think, ponder and strategies but he comes to the point immediately. He doesn’t come across as an intelligent actor but he is far more spontaneous than the others. Without Akshay there is no reach. When you have a big star, more people automatically tune in, which is phenomenal. Akshay is doing a terrific job by doing these kinds of films.”
As the subject is taboo we asked him was it risky to make a film on this subject, to which R Balki replied, “Making a film like this is not risky as compared to the life that Muruganantham has led. He has sacrificed his whole life, whereas I am only sacrificing a film. His life is so entertaining, not preachy. He is a thriller by himself. While everybody was gung ho about this project there was this one person, an actor in a village who ran away when asked to hold a pad and that exactly is going to work for the film. We are always scared of what will people say but we are talking of people as they are today. We never ask people what they want to see. If you ask a person if he wants to see an ad on a pad and he would squirm but once you show it he would start suggesting ways of doing it differently. For every change to happen somebody must do it first. What’s the point in making a film that people are already comfortable talking about?
He further went on saying, “I don’t think anybody has said the word ‘pad’ as many times as in the last three to four months. You don’t whisper PAD MAN you are saying it loudly. Undoubtedly, it is a family film. When you see father, mother and daughter talking about it chances are that the next time the daughter has her period, father will ask her, ‘Shall I get you a pad?’ There are stories about how fathers, when the mothers were travelling, would run out to chemist shop in the night to get the pad. Since then the father-daughter bond has strengthened. So far daughters thought that they could discuss only certain things with their fathers. People are not scared or embarrassed, they just want someone to talk to first and then they join in. That is the mentality of life and the film shows that. I also feel that men are getting more civilized and a little more sensitive about life. Humanity is progressing. I feel lots of men are going to be more affected by this film than a lot of women. That’s all that films can do, films are not some missionary campaigns beyond a point of time.”
As the trailer and songs are garnering good response when asked him how have people reacted to the Padman trailer? this is what ad man had to say, “The day after trailer came out some of the people who would be watching all kinds of ghastly dubbed films on their mobile were set thinking. I actually saw a bunch of security guys and other people arguing after watching the trailer. Somebody was saying, 'Ya, I saw this packet in my wife’s cupboard, but that was green in colour whereas what they are showing is red'. Then the other guy said, ‘Yes, it happens, it happened to my daughter as well’. Can you believe a group of thugs discussing a topic they have never ever thought about before? It was a fantastic sight.”
Also starring Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor, PAD MAN releases this Friday!