FASSA SAR WRITES – Arunachalam Murugunatham’s community once even labeled him a pervert when he decided to create a low-cost sanitary pad for women in rural India. He noticed that the women’s menstrual cycles were considered so taboo, it led to women using old rags, sand, leaves and even ash as substitutes for feminine hygiene.

Murugunatham researched how sanitary pads were made for two years.  He asked his wife to help with his research by providing used sanitary pads, but he then realized “It took too long to wait each month for new results.” Murugunatham then asked his sister and local college students to help with his research and test his new products.

It took a decade for Muruguntham to create a machine that would give 2.5 million women sanitary napkins that would improve hygiene levels in rural India. To top it all off, he began his mission as an illiterate man. Today, Padman has employed over 7,500 women in India by manufacturing these sanitary pads and operates in 14 states.

Well-known Indian producer, Twinkle Khanna, heard about Murugunatham’s accomplishments and immediately asked him to create a film about his story. Bollywood’s favorite, Askay Kummar, stars as the relentless Arunachalam Murugunatham that ends up losing his family in this process.

In an interview, Khanna shared what she hopes the impact this film will have on the world:

“With Padman I hope that it’s more than a movie, it’s a movement. Where women are no longer held back or embarrassed because of their biology. Where commercials don’t show blue liquid on sanitary pads instead of red. Where President Trump cannot shame a reporter by saying she is bleeding from whatever. Where we cannot promise all our school girls iPads, but give them all the sanitary pads that they need.”

Padman released on February 9 in India, and is already anticipated to blow out the box office.

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