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04 Feb 2018

#PadManChallenge: Breaking taboos or smart movie advertising?

Why are Bollywood stars posing with sanitary pads?

Several Bollywood A-listers are clicking photos with a sanitary pad and posting it on their social media timelines.

Why, you might wonder. It's team PadMan's innovative way to promote their upcoming biopic on A. Muruganantham, the social entrepreneur who brought about a period hygiene revolution in south India by making low-cost napkins for rural women.

Here's more on Bollywood's latest taboo-breaking movie publicity campaign.

In context

Why are Bollywood stars posing with sanitary pads?

When Aamir Khan posed with a pad

What is it all about?


What is it all about?

Muruganantham kick-started the initiative on Friday.

It requires you to get clicked with a pad, post the photo on social media with the following caption and challenge your friends to do the same.

"Yes, that's a Pad in my hand & there's nothing to be ashamed about. It's natural! Period. #PadManChallenge"

Muruganantham had challenged Twinkle Khanna, Akshay Kumar, Radhika Apte and Sonam Kapoor.

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Raising awareness

Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao visit a chemist

The challenge has since then gone viral with innumerable celebrities completing it in their own unique way.

So far, other than team PadMan, Aamir Khan, Deepika Padukone, Alia Bhatt, Swara Bhaskar, Ayushmann Khurrana, Arjun Kapoor and Aditi Rao Hydari have taken it.

However, Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao went the extra mile by doing a little skit, encouraging all to not stigmatize period hygiene.

Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and sanitary napkins

The campaign may go international

Across borders

The campaign may go international

With Anil Kapoor challenging Oprah Winfrey and Priyanka Chopra, the campaign might just go global.

It might also spread among sports personalities as cricketer Virat Kohli and ace-shuttler PV Sindhu have already been urged to join the bandwagon.

Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Farhan Akhtar are among actors who have been challenged but have not responded yet.

Milking money

Bollywood's new-found love for social reforms

The #PadMan challenge claims to normalize the dialogue around menstruation but it is also a shrewd business strategy bringing together the biggest names in Bollywood to sell a film in the garb of furthering a social cause.

Raising awareness is great but capitalizing on it?

From misogyny to romance and nationalism, Bollywood knows it can sell anything. Social reform is its latest cash cow.

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