Indian Movies: Filtering Periods Out
Given above are the notable mentions and dialogue based on periods in Indian movies.
Yes, there are none.
Forget conducting an open dialogue on this burning topic, a glaring number of films in India shy away from the mention of periods themselves. This certainly comes with exceptions, but in the bigger picture, the picture of menstruation is quietly smudged with the dark strokes of silence.
THE CLOAK OF INVISIBILITY
Seemingly, all other topics hushed in normal Indian conversation make the cut in the screenplay of ‘new-age, open-minded’ movies. From divorce to sex, everything secures its rightful place, but the conversation around menstruation that should be struck is draped in the cloak of invisibility. The numbers speak for themselves:
On dissecting the genres of movies that featured on IMDB’s first 30 movies in the ‘must watch’ collection, the revelations are striking. Notice how a consolidated share of 40% is occupied by movies with female protagonists and those based on common Indian taboos like adultery and even death.
Yet, NONE of them is even remotely echoing the voice of periods. The irony of the greatest order is at play when it comes to the film industry’s relations with menstrual hygiene.
Can a mere advertisement at the beginning of every movie settle the whole issue altogether?
MENSTRUATION: TOO TOUGH A PILL TO SWALLOW?
As is indicated in the above graph, a skewed mentality has not spared even female-centric movies. A deep dive into these movies across the years yields a shocking discovery-
- Veere di Wedding
Hailed as a breakthrough movie in feminism and women empowerment, one cannot find even a trace of menstruation in the movie. It has touched upon every other issue which women combat, but quietly dodges the question mark of periods.
- Angry Indian Goddesses
7 actresses grace the movie, yet there is no mention of menstruation.
- Dangal, Chak De India, Panga and Mary Kom
Based on the life stories of female athletes, these movies too have completely omitted the subject of menstruation. Notably, menstruation and hygiene often shape the overall health of the athlete, among others.
THE EXCEPTIONAL EXCEPTIONS
A ray of light, they say, can chase away all darkness. If there are a hundred movies that mute periods, there is one that unmutes and shows it as it is.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some peddle on their cycles with sanitary pads and a spirit to revolutionize menstrual hygiene driving their minds.
This is the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who Akshay Kumar played in the movie ‘Padman’. As Muruganantham commenced research on cheaper alternatives for sanitary napkins, his family members disowned him. Yet, he fought with extraordinary perseverance and determination for a larger cause, a cause larger than his life.
Today his napkins reach 40 million Indian women, with the number growing at an exponential rate. The movie Pad Man itself is the first in its league. It’s an exception, and it’s exceptional.
Period. End of Sentence.
“A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.”
Only the second in line, this heart-warming tale covers the chronicles of women who manufacture low-cost sanitary napkins by themselves and secure financial independence.
It beautifully interweaves the forces of menstrual hygiene and women empowerment together.
A special mention
For those who fancy TV soaps, “Wagle ki Duniya” took up menstruation in one of their recent narratives. The various myths that seeped into menstruation have been captured, and the way the characters combat them is one to live by.
WALK, DON’T WAIT.
From movies to TV advertisements, a change is bubbling and is slowly sweeping the world. From this point, all we can go is upward, only if we lay the first step. Bright signs are showing up. Hopefully, they’re red this time, and not blue.