Actress Radhika Apte, who plays a key role in Akshay Kumar-starrer Padman, says the menstruation taboo has not only existed among men but also among women who are conditioned for years not to talk about the natural process openly.
Padman, based on the story of a real-life hero, addresses the issue of menstrual hygiene and is aimed at creating awareness about it.
Asked if the film can bring any change in the society, Radhika told IANS: “I think the taboo attached to menstruation is not only among men but women as well. It is happening for years. Even women feel uncomfortable to talk about it openly.
“Mothers taught their daughters how not to talk about it openly, not to go to the kitchen or not to enter the temple. So it does not just exist among men but women as well.
“Though I think one film cannot bring all the changes to a practice that is happening for ages, if people start talking about menstruation comfortably, be aware of the importance of menstruation hygiene, it would be more than enough for us. And it is also about the journey of an individual who struggled through his life for a cause. It is an incredible story.”
Padman, releasing on Friday, is based on the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who brought about a near revolution by introducing a machine capable of producing low-cost sanitary pads.
As an artiste, Radhika is proud to be a part of a poignant story like this.
Starting her acting career in theatre, Radhika has acted not only in Bollywood films but also in various regional language films ranging from those in Bengali and Tamil to Telugu and Malayalam. She has been appreciated by critics and audience for some of her fine performances in films like Rakht Charitra, Badlapur, Parched, Phobia, Manjhi – The Mountain Man and Kabali.
Asked if putting in so much work for her characters in every film at times exhausts her, Radhika said: “I like to work hard for a character that I play. I enjoy the process of doing my homework. It does not exhaust me as it is enriching. For a performing artiste, it is the biggest high.”
This year, the actress is working on several projects including films like Bazaar, Bhavesh Joshi, Shoot the Piano Player and web series Sacred Games.
Does she find any difference shooting for digital content from a feature film?
“I see no difference when I work in a web series and a film. There is absolutely no difference when we are shooting on set. It is just that a web series takes a few more days than a film,” she said.
Since the actress has worked with some of the finest film directors of the country, asked how it helps her in her craft, she said “For an actor, a lot of the time it depends on the director, the writer and editors because it is ultimately a collaborative art. But then there are sometimes, that director gives an actor freedom to bring their creative contribution to the character.”
Radhika has worked with various directors — Sriram Raghavan, Prakash Raj, R Balki, Leena Yadav and Anurag Kashyap — whose world of cinema is sometimes polls apart.
“The idea is to collaborate with different directors, working with different creative energy, and different perspectives of people… That is how we create something new. The job of an actor is to match up with a different creative energy.”