Actress Radhika Apte, who has often been under the scanner for her ‘bold’ approach in films, says anything remotely associated with the human body can turn out to be a problem in India, a country that is "very ashamed of sexuality and physicality".
Sex and sexuality are not the only veiled topics of discussion in the country. Menstruation also finds a spot on the list, but Radhika is happy that the topic is being handled in a big way in her upcoming Bollywood film Pad Man. The Akshay Kumar-Radhika Apte starrer is being produced by Twinkle Khannaa and tells the true story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who set out to make affordable sanitary napkins.
Starting with the poster in the shape of a sanitary napkin, Radhika feels the film will help overcome the hesitation which surrounds a natural process that a woman goes through every month.
Radhika Apte, ActorI think our country is very ashamed of sexuality, physicality, or the human body. Anything to do with human body or sexuality is a problem here.
Despite the critical acclaim coming her way aplenty, Radhika has often been in the news for being ‘bold’ in her films, be it an intimate scene with co-star Adil Hussain in Parched being leaked online, or a clip of a semi-nude scene from an Anurag Kashyap short film making its way on to the web.
The actress has never tried to sweep the matter under the rug and believes in talking about it, instead of opting for silence.
Radhika ApteYes, there is a whole thing of generations of being awkward about (these) things, but if you start taking a decision like ‘Okay, I am not going to feel like that’, it will make a difference.
The actress said a natural process like menstruation should be spoken about.
Radhika ApteIt should not feel awkward touching the pad in front of people. These are small things with which people have issues.
According to Radhika, who is also associated with a brand of sanitary napkins in her capacity as an ‘influencer’, it is not only men who have issues talking about it.
Radhika ApteWomen also have issues about it. It is all a part of society and upbringing, and it is high time we changed it
Filmmaker R. Balki has picked the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham to narrate through Pad Man, with actors Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte in the lead roles. Pad Man will chronicle how Muruganantham set out on a mission to make affordable sanitary napkins, after seeing his wife's ordeal and poor menstrual hygiene, because of which she was shunned by his own family and village.
More than the end result of finally having succeeded in making affordable sanitary napkins, it is the road that leads to it, which makes for a compelling tale. From creating a fake uterus and testing out his prototype, which raised a lot of eyebrows in the village, to washing bloodied cloths in public, and being ostracised on the suspicion of having a sexual disease or being possessed by evil spirits, there are many facets to Muruganantham's story.
Ask Radhika about how his story is getting a Bollywood makeover and she says she is "absolutely not allowed to talk about it”, but things are heading in the right direction.
Radhika ApteAll I can say is that as you know, it is about a pad man, and has a sanitary napkin on the poster. So there is a lot of scope for imagination. I am very happy that something like this is being handled at such a big level in Bollywood.
Radhika entered the industry with a small role in the 2005 release Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi!, and is known for films like Shor in the City, Kabali, Phobia, Badlapur, Manjhi - The Mountain Man and short film Ahalya. At the moment, all her focus is on Pad Man.