Akshay Kumar, the original khiladi of Bollywood, is getting ready for the release of his film Padman, which will hit screens on January 25.
Akshay on Thursday interacted with media in Mumbai to promote his film PadMan. The actor was asked if he thinks that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on sanitary pads should be slashed as majority of Indian women, mostly in the rural areas, cannot afford basic menstrual hygiene products. To this, Akshay Kumar replied that women should have free access to sanitary napkins.
He said, “Why just cut down on GST? I think women should have free access to sanitary napkins. This is their basic necessity. It is about menstrual hygiene and not luxury.”
The PadMan actor further added, “It is unfortunate and I am ashamed to say that 82 percent women in India have no access to sanitary pads and they are treated as if they are outsiders, and are made to sleep in the veranda.”
Akshay Kumar then emphasised the point that when girls hit puberty, it should be celebrated so they feel that something good has happened to them. He said, “When you celebrate the fact that a girl has hit puberty, the girl, who is already going through a physical and hormonal change, will feel that something good has happened to her and she will be more confident and secured. I don’t understand why we Indians think that we need to hide anything related to periods.”
— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) January 4, 2018
Akshay has decided that he wants to make more women-centric films and films with social messages. After Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, the actor is all set to make sure that Indian women start talking about menstruation and menstrual hygiene openly. He is even seen wearing a pink underwear with a sanitary pad in it. On this, Akshay Kunar said, “Wearing pink panties with a sanitary pad was not at all challenging and shameful for me. I did it with complete ease. You guys feel it is a challenge, but it is the most natural thing. The day you guys will stop seeing it as a challenge, more women will be comforted. So I don’t think my role in the movie is challenging, or that we are talking about a sensitive issue. I am glad, I am seeing more and more people discussing sanitary pads on social media. That’s a victory in its own way.”
The actor then said, “Since last couple of years, I have been meeting women. The biggest problem for them is their periods. It is not only because of the physical pain that they go through, but people around them make it a taboo. They do not have personal hygiene at all which is disheartening. It is shocking and shameful that we treat our women like this.”
On why does he think that Indian women have trouble talking about their menstrual problems, the star opined religion has a big role to play in it. He said, “Like many other social issues, religion is definitely one of the reason menstruation is seen as a taboo.”
The Jolly LLB 2 actor was then asked what are the other issues that he would like to make films on, since his films are doing a good job of spreading awareness and social reform. To this, he said, “I have not thought of any cause right now. But recently I met a fan and she asked me ‘After PadMan, what’s next?’ and I asked her to tell me what I should make my next film on, and in a very stern voice, she said, ‘make something on dowry!’. She said it so strongly that even I got thinking.”