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Ritabhari Chakrborty joins 'Padman' Sobhan Mukherjee to set up 300 sanitary napkin vending machines

The actress's next, Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti, celebrates womanhood and talks about menstruation.

Roushni Sarkar

Actress Ritabhari Chakraborty has joined hands with activist Sobhan Mukherjee to install vending machines for sanitary napkins at the city's public toilets. Chakraborty, who recently played the protagonist in Aritra Mukherjee’s first film Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti (2020), has already initiated 300 such machines across different locations in Kolkata.

Mukherjee, who has been working towards this cause since 2017, has set up 70 vending boxes around the city so far. But some of them have been vandalised by men, who found the initiative to be inappropriate. However, the attacks have not deterred him from his mission.

“The whole motive behind joining this initiative is to ensure women have easy access to sanitary napkins," said the actress. "Sobhan has the entire database of bathrooms, areas and suppliers of sanitary napkins, so a lot of groundwork has already been done” she stated, while speaking to the English daily, The Times of India. 

Chakraborty’s film, which is slated for release before Women’s Day this year, celebrates the participation of women in all spheres of life. In an earlier interview, Chakraborty spoke of the stigma attached to menstruation and said her recent film attempts to initiate a dialogue on the taboo subject.

Sobhan, who has also been instrumental in setting up transgender toilets in the city, started to set up sanitary napkin vending boxes when he discovered the inconvenience faced by a female friend while travelling. Earlier, vending boxes were made of cardboard, thus making it easy for vandals to trash them. But they are now made of steel and will work after inserting Rs5.

Sobhan is sure that with the actress coming on board, awareness of the initiative will receive a big boost.