Writer and producer Twinkle Khanna riding high on the success of her just-released film PadMan, now wants to work for reproductive rights of women.
Twinkle attended the success celebration of her film and discussion organized by Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss the taboo around menstrual hygiene on Wednesday in Mumbai.
Asked whether she has any films in the pipeline after PadMan, Twinkle said: “I don’t know about a movie but next I would like to work for the reproductive rights and that would be my next venture.”
Asked whether she would like to produce a biopic of her father Rajesh Khanna or husband Akshay Kumar, the Mrs. Funnybones writer said: “No.. I am interested in stories which have layers to it and which have larger ramification. It’s great for somebody to write a story which is about one person’s life but for me, there have to be layered and the story has to have a message and that’s what I believe in.”
Starring Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte in lead roles, PadMan has already collected over Rs 52 crore at the box-office since its release on February 9. Asked if she expected this reaction from the audience and whether the film would succeed in changing people’s mindsets, Twinkle said: “No. I did not expect this. We were worried because it was a risk.
“We did not know whether people would take it and at this point in time, both, the commercial and the critical success has been overwhelming. Who would have thought, even five years back, that Balki (Director R. Balki) and Akshay (Kumar) would make people watch a movie on sanitary pads. But we did it and we are really happy right now. PadMan is more than the movie. I am hoping its part of a movement where women are no longer held back or embarrassed by their biology. I think commercials also should stop showing blue liquids on sanitary pads instead of red,” the former actor said.
Twinkle also suggested that though the promise of iPads to school girls cannot be fulfilled, at least they should be provided with sanitary napkins.
“Today, 80 percent of our women who are using cloth or other things should be able to use hygienic products during their days of menstruation. We can’t promise all our school girls iPads unfortunately but we can definitely get them sanitary napkins which they need. When we began PadMan, we were very clear that this is a movie that would initiate a conversation about menstruation and menstrual health upon the collective consciousness of this country and I am really glad to see that happening,” Twinkle said.
PadMan has been banned in Pakistan. According to members of the censor board of Pakistan, films on “taboo” topics such as menstruation should not be allowed to show in the country.
Reacting to the ban in the neighboring country, Twinkle said: “I think women menstruate no matter where you put a boundary or a border. We as women menstruate this side (India) and that side (Pakistan) so it’s important for them to see it as well and I wish that they would change their mind and show the movie.”
PadMan tells the real-life story of an Indian man named Arunachalam Muruganantham and how he came to inventing low-cost sanitary napkins for women in Indian villages.
Directed by R.Balki, the film is based on a short story from Twinkle Khanna’s book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad.