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Radhika Apte: My mother threw a party when I got my first period

The Pad Man female lead recalls how she got many gifts on the important day.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Radhika Apte is one of Indian cinema's leading artistes today. The acclaimed actress will be seen next in the Akshay Kumar-starrer Pad Man, where she plays the star's wife.

The film is based on the life of social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham, who made low-cost sanitary napkins. Apte, Akshay Kumar and co-producer Twinkle Khanna came together to launch the film's first song, 'Aaj Se Teri'.

Apart from creating awareness on the subject of menstruation and women's hygiene, the film exposes the taboos associated with it. Apte had no qualms speaking about the occasion when she had her first menstrual period.

“My parents were doctors," she said, " and so I was told that this would happen. On the day, my mother threw a party and gifted me a watch. I was crying, but still I got lots of gifts.”

Commenting on her experience working with Akshay Kumar, Apte said, “I was thrilled to be part of this film. This subject is so sensitive. The way they [the producers and director R Balki] have been putting it out, it was done in a very honest way. The script has instant connection with the public, the audience, the reader. I also thought Akshay was perfect to play the part. The way he has played it, his innocence and passion are so genuine that you get hooked on to it."

Director R Balki had a very different outlook on the issue during his childhood.

“When I was very young, my mother used to sit outside in the courtyard," he recalled. "I never understood why she sat there for so long. There used to be a cloth hanging. During that time, she never came into the kitchen.

"I used to hang a similar cloth next to her. I thought it was something you needed to have, some kind of rule. All of us have seen our mothers, sisters, wives someone around us going through this. It is all about being sensitive,” he said.

Pad Man is set to be released on 26 January, when it will clash with Neeraj Pandey's Aiyaary.