We all are well acquainted with the name of “Padman”, an Indian biographical comedy-drama film of R.Balkiwhich is based on the real-life story of ArunachalamMuruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu who introduced the low-cost sanitary film. The film hit the platform on 9th February 2018. But, despite all these which is unknown to most of the people is the name of Phullu, a movie on menstrual hygiene came before Padman.
Phullu was released worldwide on June 16, 2017. It is told that this movie also took its inspiration from the real life of Arunachalam Muruganantham. But, Abhishek Saxena, the director of this movie told that this Phullu was not based on the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham but, its set was settled down in the village of Uttar Pradesh. He opined in an interview that this movie is a fictional tale spiced with real-life experiences and humour.
Phullu is a Hindi slang used for a man who spends a most of his time with women. This is an apt title for a movie about a handyman who aspires to improve the standards of menstrual hygiene in his village. We were aware of ArunachalamMuruganantham’s story of making low-cost sanitary pads, which becomes more famous after releasing of Padman but, in Phullu it was found that there were many other people like him who have taken similar initiatives in places like Surat and particularly, Mathura. So they initiated their journey through the interaction of the local people and talking to these people and got to know the intricacies, which was used in the film basically. It has been shot in KoilaAlipur in Mathura district.
Like Padman, Phullu is not a success story. It is a fictional drama about menstrual hygiene and awareness. It gives importance to the unawareness of the sanitary pad among the women villagers. While there is an uproar over the taxation of menstrual hygiene products, it is important to realise that in more than 60% of villages in the country don’t even know what a sanitary pad is. And as an outcome, they think it is the urban woman’s luxury.
Phullu’s character is very caring. He has been recognized as the titular character that means a typical good guy. He lives in a village that consists of women and the aged. He is the only young man in the village who runs estimated errands for the women and buys them products to meet their basic needs from the city. The wife of Phullu also wants him to move to a big city and find work. But he’s adamant about staying back in the village. But, ultimately he goes to the city, where he comes in touch with the doctor who’d learn him about the lesson of menstruation. After that, he manages to create a sanitary napkin of his own. However, his mother and sister refuse to test it, as do the other women in the village for whom he used to run errands in the city. His wife is pregnant at this time, so she can’t help him out.
Behind this film, the director has shared his personal experience based on which he took the first initiative for making this film. He asked the chemist in Mumbai the reason behind the wrapped product and the answer he got was “This has been going forever”, which gave him a large perspective for making Phullu. Even people from his own team felt a little uncomfortable with the topic. But he was deeply focused just had to make the film. One of his co-producers was also thrilled by the idea and took up the project then. The characters have been framed to be light-hearted and humourous consciously so that the film doesn’t end up taking a preachy tone.
Initially, the villagers in Mathura were against the subject, as it openly dealt with a sensitive topic though most of them didn’t even know about menstrual hygiene products. Even they refused to listen to them or use the sanitary pads that they distributed to them during shooting. They intellectually incorporated their conversations and reactions in the film.
So, if you do not watch the this Phullu, must try.