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 real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham) is about to release. It was scheduled to release on Jan 25 & has now been shifted to Feb 9. None the less, the publicity campaign for the movie started long back since Nov-Dec. 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, 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 urban part of India spend a lot of money on stuff such as makeup items, beauty parlors 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 free sanitary pads for women? 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 shitfest & a smear campaign against men. Anything, & I mean anything was & is said against men.
Is she crazy? What has erectile dysfunction got to do with policy making?
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.
Again, why dragging this as 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 movie dialogues, you are seen saying “Bloody Man half hour man bleeding like woman… They Straight Die…”.
Why are you blaming men, again? God has given a beautiful gift to woman, that is of 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 did he/she did not give menstruation to men? Why don’t you complain to God as to why did he/she gave the gift of giving birth only to women? Why are you claiming that a men will die if he has to go through menstruation even for half an hour?
There are innumerous 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. This issues receive very little help & I will appreciate if you can speak about this, even 1% of what you are doing for Padman.
Akshay, there are two types of causes: because of reasons & because of seasons.
During Holiday & Airlift – it was patriotic fervor, during Toilet – it was building toilets & now during Padman – it is sanitary pads. I am not really sure if you will stick to this as I find your alignment very convenient, purely out of business and simply, ‘because of seasons’ and not because of serious reasons. Come tomorrow, some new movie will come & some new cause out of seasons. We cannot trust you.
For you, it has become such a trend today to have a heavy lunch & then go ahead & tell people that the principle of fasting is a pious thing to do.
You want publicity for your movie, great – grab publicity on merit or by innovative tactics but this way of grabbing publicity by such theatrics is very cheap.
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 !