Every biographical film has certain fixed elements in a usual curve like motivation followed by obsession that makes protagonist being rejected by the society, after that we get a montage portraying protagonist perfecting his thing and finally getting the recognition with film ending with a big speech or narration. There is always occasional comedy along with moments of despair and tragedy set with in realistic surroundings. Presence of all of these mentioned elements along with a social message makes Pad Man a complete film.
R. Balki's Screenplay is balanced and doesn't drag at all. First half is engaging and stays close to the heart of the problem this film is trying to address. Second half loses its grip as it turns into a documentary, full of social messages. Second half doesn't drag either, it’s just story gets less interesting especially the romantic angle between Pari played by Sonam Kapoor and LakshimKant played by Akshay felt unnecessary. They should have closed curtains at Akshay's last speech at a high note.
R. Balki whose last directorial Ki&Ka, which I loved for its simple and realistic treatment of yet another interesting subject works his magic here again. He captures small town life beautifully. His attention to details is impeccable and successfully creates a rural low-income household experience in the first half.
Akshay Kumar as a simple illiterate man is convincing but the star of the show is Radhika Apte. Her portrayal of Gayatri is so believable that whenever she says to Akshay (her husband) to leave his obsession and not to interfere in Women's matter, I really want his character to listen and quit his obsession right there. That's the kind of connection a good performance with a well written character has.
The weakest knot in this otherwise we'll knitted ensemble is the character of Pari. It's not Sonam Kapoor's performance that brings it down, in fact she has done well with in her scope. It's just her character is underwritten. On top of that, the addition of romantic aspect to the dynamics between her and Akshay at the very end also shift the focus from the heart of film unnecessarily. I also didn’t get the weird closeup of Sonam in the end when she was delivering her final words about her feelings to her dad.
Overall a very balanced film with all the required ingredients and an important subject at the heart of it all. Pad Man definitely deserves attention I go with 3 stars.