Pad Man

Lakshmi (Akshay Kumar), who lives in a small town, Maheshwar, gets married to Gayatri (Radhika Apte). He dotes on her and wants her to be happy at all cost. Living with the couple are Lakshmi’s mother (Jyoti Subhash) and two younger sisters (Parul Chouhan and Soumya Vyas). Another sister (Mrinmayee Godbole) is married and lives with her husband and in-laws.

Lakshmi is disturbed by the poor hygiene observed by wife Gayatri during her monthly periods. One day, he buys a packet of sanitary pads for her but she refuses to use them due to their high price. This sets his mind thinking about the crores of women who aren’t able to maintain hygiene because of the affordability factor. He consults his doctor (Umesh Damle) who tells him that many women contract diseases because of lack of hygiene during their periods and some have to pay with their lives. Obsessed with Gayatri’s well-being, he himself prepares sanitary napkins using cotton wool but when Gayatri uses them, she realises that they don’t serve the purpose. He makes alterations but when they fail to make life easier for Gayatri, she asks him to simply let her be. Unwilling to give up, Lakshmi now tries to convince girls and women in his town to use the indigenously-prepared sanitary napkin. On one such occasion, his over-enthusiasm backfires on him and he and his family have to bear the ignominy that comes with it. His devastated mother sends his two younger sisters to stay with the elder married sister so that they can avoid the barbs that would come their way because of Lakshmi treading into the female and taboo domain.

Left with no option, Lakshmi actually himself tries to judge the functionality of his sanitary napkins by using them himself but that experiment goes so horrendously wrong that he and his family have to face the wrath of everyone around. Gayatri’s brothers (Sanjay Singh and Abhimanyu Sarkar) take her away because they are ashamed of Lakshmi’s actions. Left with no option, Lakshmi leaves his town but not his dream.

He seeks help from people including a kid and does a lot of research till he realises that he ought to be using cellulose fibre instead of cotton wool for making sanitary napkins. He soon develops a low-cost sanitary pad manufacturing machine and makes sanitary napkins which cost only Rs. 2 a piece. By sheer chance, Pari (Sonam Kapoor) becomes the first person to try his pad. Hearing his story, she takes his invention of the low-cost sanitary pad manufacturing machine to the National Innovation Competition where he gets a special prize of the President of India. Pari and her father (Suneel Sinha) get him media coverage and the stage now seems to be set for Lakshmi’s machine to become a cash cow. But Lakshmi is saddened by this prospect as his aim has all along been to make affordable sanitary pads for poor women in the country. He is unwilling to sell his pad manufacturing machine as he fears, those who buy his machine at an astronomical price would then make sanitary pads and sell them at exorbitant prices to recover their cost of machines. This, he concludes, would defeat the very purpose of making low-cost sanitary pads.

Pari realises the goodness and noble thoughts behind Lakshmi’s innovation and joins him to further his business and aim. Not only does Lakshmi’s business take off in a big way but he is soon called by the United Nations to deliver a lecture about it. The people of his town welcome him with open arms when Lakshmi is given a Padma Award. Gayatri, who has all along waited for Lakshmi, comes back to him after her brothers realise their folly. Lakshmi’s mother and sisters also realise their mistake.

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