PADMAN: “A Real Life Hero”

A real heroism that turned into reel

PADMAN- The story of a village man who makes his own mission to find affordable and hygienic alternatives for sanitary pads for women in his village.



Muruganandam Arunachalam, living in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, is one among the 100 influential people in the world and was awarded Padma Shri in 2016 by the Indian government.

He says, unto 1998, he was a housebound husband only!!!!!! His world revolved around his wife Shanti and his mother. One bright afternoon when he was sitting at his house, he saw his wife passing through by the hall hiding something behind. What is that? he asked. The wife softly slapping up his cheeks said, it was none of his business. Like a very curious husband, he went to his room and searched for the thing she was trying to hide. Then, in the corner of the room, behind the valve, he saw a very nasty, ragged cloth. He there understood that his wife was using unhygienic methods during her menstruation or periods.

Then the next day, he asked his wife, why was she using cloth piece instead she could get some sanitary pad. His wife replied, that even she is aware of sanitary napkins but if she and his sisters use them, then they would have to cut off their milk budgets. The poor husband wondered, what was the connection between sanitary napkins and milk. After sitting for a minute, he then thinks of the women thought processes, he understood that the problem was the high price of the sanitary napkins.

He was a worker in a shop, so he could easily tell the weight of the product by just holding it. He went to a shop to buy a sanitary napkin. By just holding the packet, he can tell that it was just 10 grams and the packet costs ₨.30.

In Coimbatore, there are 500 textile mills. He has the idea that 10 grams of cotton that time, was just 10 paise. Now see the profit margin here.

He analyzed that the multinational companies used only 10 paise raw material and sell it for Rs.30.

Then and there he was struck by the idea of making the low cost, affordable sanitary napkin for women. He said in one of his talks, that he was very sure for his mission and knew that it would be a success.

The next task was to find a women volunteer. For this, he went to his wife asks her to do volunteer for him and his project. She was at first, shocked, but later she agreed. Next day he gets some cotton and takes it to the nearest reputed mill to make sanitary napkin out of it. He returns back home with the napkin that he made and gave it to his wife. He asks his wife to use it and give the feedback immediately. His wife laughs and says, it is not something that would come immediately but will take some time. Then he realizes that it is a monthly thing.

He waits and waits and after few days his wife uses the napkin that he made. After the usage, his wife shouts at him for making such a crap.

He then wanted more volunteer. He went to the medical college girls to ask help. He asked them to use his napkin and gave them the feedback form to fill after the use. The girls used the napkins but the feedback that they were going to give him was false as he saw two three girls filling the form for all girls. Seeing all this his wife decide to give divorce. And she left.

He does not stop here. He then finally decides to use the napkin on him. He bought V-shape underwear. He placed a napkin on it. He bought a football bladder filled with animal blood and placed it right above the napkin. “HE WAS THE MAN WHO WORE SANITARY NAPKIN WHEN WOMEN SAID NOT TO”. He tells that whenever he walks or sit or sleep, he would press the button of the bladder that he had fit which would spill blood on the napkin. He did this and checked the napkin’s elasticity. But, he was not satisfied. He was not getting why his napkin was a failure.

Then, he thought, what if he analyses the napkin that is made by other companies. He bought some napkins of other companies and gave it to some girls and asked to give the used napkin back to him. He got the used napkins back and he returned back home. He placed all the napkins on the table in his backyard and forgot that his mother was to come that very day. While he was busy analyzing the napkins, his mother entered in there and was shocked to see all that stuff. she cried and cried and threw him out of the house.

So, he lives alone and continues with his mission. He then found that the napkins made by other companies had cellulose which was taken from the bark of the cotton tree. He gets it.

He calculated that the big plant to make the napkin would cost him at least 3.5-4 crores. But he never got discouraged. He researched 4 and half years and made his own napkin machine. He made his own world-class napkin at a very low cost. It was a great innovation.

Then he sent it to IIT (Indian Institute Of Technology) for further evaluation. He further understood IPR Rights. He spent a lot of money and not only money but family and everything.

Those days, there was a small competition in IIT Madras, it was the best innovation for the betterment of society. Without his knowledge, his solely made sanitary napkin was sent for the participation in the contest. The competition had 943 entries out of which this sanitary napkin stood first.

Suddenly this small worker became the limelight. Everybody wanted to write about who he achieved this? What made him do this? etc.

His machine was the only machine in the world to make sanitary napkin at that low cost.

He asked in one of his talks what would a businessman have done with this machine? Would have used it for maximum accumulation of money. But this man, PADMAN, never did so. He never did so because he had the vision to create 1 million employment opportunity for rural women only and to take 43% to 100% usage of sanitary napkins among rural women.

He has revolutionized the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India.

People never die of poverty. People die due to ignorance.


Akshay Kumar, our very own Khiladi Kumar, never leaves such a social thing. Akshay was very inspired by this man and decided with R.Balki to turn it into the reel. The movie “PADMAN”, a twinkle Khanna’s production, directed by R.Balki, starring Sonam Kapoor and Radhika Apte is set to release on 26 January 2018.

Twinkle Khanna has written a book called “The legends of Laxmi Prasad”, inspired by the story of Arunachalam Muruganantham.

Also, there is another movie named “PHULLU”, which is said to be quite similar to the storyline of padman.


By – Pratibha Elin Lakra


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