Dear Padmashri Akshay Kumar,
I am writing this open letter to point out a few things that have been bothering me since last few days. I pray to God that you get a chance to read this letter & reply to the points that I raise, however, both are very unlikely to happen.
Your new movie Padman (which is based on the real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham) is about to release. It was scheduled to release on January 25 & has now been shifted to February 9. Nonetheless, the publicity campaign for the movie started long back since November 2017. Although movie stars go to any lengths to promote their movies, the kind of campaign that Padman has picked up is very disturbing, to say the least. How? let us see.
1. In an article on Outlook, dated 15 Jan, you said “Women are going for tax-free sanitary pads, but I say it should be completely free. Cut the five percent money from defence, make one bomb less and give it to women to get the sanitary napkin.”
Cut the defence money by 5% for sanitary pads? Is there even a comparison! I know the line is catchy, but did you even think before saying? National security can go for a toss, why, because you seek publicity for Padman!
Akshay, go on & talk about anything, but DO NOT, at any cost, involve my nation’s national security or defence in this.
Will you care to explain your thought process behind recommending the 5% cut?
2. During the whole promotion of Padman, you & your wife Twinkle Khanna have been continuously demanding that sanitary pads should have “No GST”.
I don’t understand as to how a “NO GST” will encourage more women to buy sanitary pads and how many won’t buy regardless of GST or No GST. A significant size of women in the urban part of India spends a lot of money on stuff such as makeup items, beauty parlours etc. They are capable enough to pay for the sanitary pads & rightly so.
When it comes to women from Rural India or the ‘urban poor’, the Government’s National Health Mission is already running a scheme where sanitary pads are given at a fixed price of Rs. 7.50/- per pack of six sanitary napkins. Check here.
Over & above everything else, FM Arun Jaitley dubbed critics of GST rate on sanitary pads as “ill-informed” & explained pretty nicely on why this product attracts GST.
Also, on one hand, you ask for “No GST” but you have never mentioned or talked about the tax rebates that women of India get compared to men. Why should I pay for the sanitary pads of a lady who earns much more than me?
Again, this is a clear case of misplaced priorities & pure publicity.
3. Why NO GST when you can do a lot on your own?
You are a big movie star. You earn pretty well. Why cannot you start a small firm which produces sanitary pads for women and distributes them for free? When you are so noble in your intentions, why not start something on your own, however, small the size may be. I am sure you would get a lot of funding & even CSR funds from MNCs if you plan to do so. My suggestion: Take a part of your income & open a small factory. This would also prove that the sanitary pads-gimmick is not just limited to the movie promotions but you are actually concerned. Do something, even if it is on a small scale.
You also said, “Aim Is To Create Awareness, Not Earn Money”. Well, great then. I am most eager to know how you have already planned to donate any & every rupee that you earn from the movie.
4. Toxic campaign against MEN
I have still not understood how the whole campaign for the movie turned into a smear campaign against men. Anything, & I mean anything was & is said about men.
Is she crazy? What has erectile dysfunction got to do with policy making? Her arguments have been thoroughly rebutted here.
She also said, “Sanitary pads are taxed to make women pay for being a woman whereas a man is born free and is even encouraged for his perverse desires by no taxes on Viagras!”. Madam, why are you dragging men into this?
She also said “Apparently, there are no taxes on brooms. I think they feel that women should keep their houses clean but it’s not as important to keep themselves clean.” How did she assume that keeping houses clean is only a women’s job?
Discussing spreading awareness about Menstrual hygiene and after meeting @Manekagandhibjp and @smritiirani -two empathetic,fierce and decisive ministers,I'm convinced that the world would be better if just women were running the show pic.twitter.com/v617ER2HfM
— Twinkle Khanna (@mrsfunnybones) December 20, 2017
Again, why is she converting this into pro women & anti-men? Can’t both live in harmony? why this misandry & gynocentrism? Why are you people so deep in your women appeasement that you are painting men as villains & creating issues out of nothing. Themyscira much?
5. Again, blaming men for no reasons
In one of your dialogues in the movie, you are seen saying “Bloody Man half hour man bleeding like a woman… They Straight Die…”.
Why are you blaming men, again? God has given a beautiful gift to women, that is about giving birth to a new life. God did not give that gift to men, just like a lot of other things that God either gave men or women. Why don’t you ask God as to why he/she did not give menstruation to men? Why don’t you complain to God as to why did he/she give the gift of giving birth only to women? Why are you claiming that a man will die if he has to go through menstruation even for half an hour?
There are numerous men, who work tirelessly & endlessly to protect their families and to provide the best of everything to their families. There are men who are at the borders, fighting against enemies in extremely cold weather, having not slept since days. There are men who work as security guards, carpenters etc in Mumbai, Delhi so that their kid can get a good education & facilities in his native village.
How inhuman of you that you chose to pass such a derogatory remark on men! Will you apologize for such a careless statement?
6. Lastly, since you & your team have this opinion that MEN are the villains, I draw your attention to some burning issues men all over the world are facing. These issues receive very little help & I will appreciate if you can speak about this, even 1% of what you are doing for Padman.
Reports from the UK suggest that the research for prostate cancer is “lagging” due to lack of funds, even though it is the most common male cancer. Another such report says that breast cancer received much more funding and publicity than prostate cancer, despite of the fact that both the cancers have a similar number of victims.
Do we know what the situation on these is in India? Do we need awareness on these issues? Or will no-one pay attention to this since your wife has already mocked 65 year old impotent men?
There are still a few days left in the whole publicity campaign. I hope better sense prevails & you + your team don’t indulge in any more non-sense. I also hope that you leave this seasonal cause alignment & actually work on bringing some concrete change.
In case Akshay’s PR is reading this, if you have some spine, send me a reply to the above-raised questions. All the best!
This post first appeared on Jan 22 here.