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Akshay and Twinkle had courage to make film on menstrual hygiene: Shabana Azmi


Actor Akshay Kumar and actor-activist Shabana Azmi were part of the inaugural session of Niine Movement's Menstrual Awareness Conclave in New Delhi.

Shabana Azmi and Akshay Kumar

IANS

Hindi cinema's own Pad Man Akshay Kumar and actor-activist Shabana Azmi, who were part of inaugural Menstrual Awareness Conclave in New Delhi, say that it is important to not only educate women about the menstrual hygiene but also to involve men to initiate more dialogues about periods.

Azmi spoke on the need to dissociate the idea of 'shame' from menstruation.

She said, "The glass is half full and half empty. Certainly from 1990s to the Niine Movement, the very idea that men can talk about having set of sanitary napkins along with Rakhi is revolutionary. I got to know that 70% of rural women suffer from infection as they use cloth and recycle it. They would wash it but would not hang it out in sun to dry because it's a matter of shame.

"So they would dry under the mattresses of the cot. This would lead to inevitable diseases. Even in 21st century, Indian women didn't have a patch of sunlight for themselves. That hit me so hard.

"Akshay Kumar and his producer wife Twinkle Khanna had the courage to make the film on menstrual hygiene and that was an important win. It is not possible that we take this initiative forward unless we involve men."

The actress was the part of a panel titled 'Loss Fertility in Females' at Niine Movement's Menstrual Awareness Conclave to mark International Menstrual Hygiene Day on Monday (28 May).

The Niine Movement, an ambitious five-year plan aimed at raising awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene and tackling the taboos associated with menstruation, has been officially launched at the inaugural conclave to mark Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Azmi was joined by Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi, WaterAid India's director of programme and policy Avinash Kumar, UN India MCO deputy representative Nishtha Satyam and Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India president Jaideep Malhotra on the panel.

Akshay, who was the chief guest at the event, felicitated nine people who were doing their bit to create awareness about menstruation hygiene in different parts of India.

He also explained the thought that provoked him to make Pad Man (2018).

"This phrase is for every men as after hearing this phrase, I made Pad Man. I read somewhere that 'Never mess with someone who bleeds five days a month but does not die' and that's the power of a woman," he said.

Pad Man, directed and written by R Balki, was based on the short story The Sanitary Man of Sacred Land in Twinkle Khanna's book The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, which is inspired by the life of Arunachalam Muruganantham, a social activist from Tamil Nadu who introduced low-cost sanitary pads.