January 29, 2018

Can Twinkle Khanna end the stigma around periods?

We talk to the Bollywood superstar about her new film 'Padman'.

Getty Images/Stuart C. Wilson

A new Bollywood film has people talking. About the cast and the songs, of course, but perhaps more unusually, about its message - the importance of menstrual health and hygiene.

By bringing the story of one Indian innovator to the big screen, the film's producer, director and cast hope they can remove the stigma around periods.

This is the story of "Pad Man."

In India, myths and taboos about menstruation are rife. There is also an alarming lack of access to sanitary pads. As a result, girls can miss school or even drop out altogether.

One man, though, decided this wasn’t good enough. Arunachalam Muruganatham became well known for his low-cost sanitary pads and for raising awareness of unhygienic practices around menstruation. He started his crusade after learning his wife managed her periods with an unsanitary rag.

We speak to the film's producer, Bollywood megastar Twinkle Khanna, and two activists who work in the field of menstrual health. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Twinkle Khanna @mrsfunnybones
Writer/producer, “Pad Man”

Zubaida Bai @zubaidabai
Founder & CEO, AYZH

Jaydeep Mandal @mandaljaydeep
Founder, Aakar Innovations

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.