Dharamsala, Oct 26: Amit Virmani’s “Menstrual Man” presented the problem that Indian women are hesitant to talk about – menstruation days. The film that showed the journey from rags to pads was termed remarkable by men and women alike who caught its screening here.
It was screened at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts at McLeod Ganj here Friday as a part of the ongoing Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF).
The show had more male viewers than females who were laughing and applauding the efforts by the main character of the film, A. Muruganatham, to improve the lives of rural women during their “period days”.
The 63-minute documentary revolves around Muruganatham who is on a mission to improve the hygiene standards of rural women and make sanitary pads affordable for them.
A school dropout, he realised that the majority of women in India couldn’t afford sanitary pads and decided to do something about it. Once mocked by his own community, he is now acknowledged as a visionary for empowering rural women with access to both feminine hygiene and a livelihood.
One of the high points of the film was the presentation of such a strong message in a humorous way.
“In India especially in rural areas there are still many limitations for women during menstruation days. She can’t eat or touch pickles, she can’t visit temples or touch her family members and moreover, she is locked in one room with food and everything served to her from a distance.
“Problems are many, but nobody cares about hygiene and use clothes instead of pads so, I think this film will be a great booster for all those women,” said Ritu Singhania, one of the fans, who came to watch the screening.
Agreed a male fan: “Kudos to the filmmaker who touched such a strong social message which nobody even dares to discuss in public.”
Virmani, the Singapore-based filmmaker, who has previously directed “Cowboys in Paradise”, shot the documentary in 2012.
He had fun shooting with rural women and his protagonist in the film despite being a man.
“There were many ideas in the last few years, but when I got to know about this guy, I thought this is my story. I saw some of his videos and articles, but there was no proper research,” Virmani, who had fun while working on the film, told IANS.
“All women who featured in it are already spokespeople and role models. They just saw this as another platform to promote the issue. They stopped considering it as an embarrassing topic of discussion. Rural people don’t care whether it’s men or women showing interest in them. They were just glad that somebody is bothered now,” he said.