The 26-minute documentary follows girls and women in Hapur in Uttar Pradesh and their experience with the installation of a sanitary pad machine in their village.
The film is among the five nominees in the Documentary Short Subject category. Other nominees include Black Sheep, End Game, Lifeboat and A Night at the Garden.
Periods, which are a part of a woman’s menstrual cycle, and a natural phenomenon which is still considered to be a taboo subject, especially in the rural parts of India.
Award-winning Iranian- American director, Rayka Zehtabchi and producer Guneet Monga took it upon themselves to explore the subject in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh.
Zehtabchi’s film chronicles the experiences of women in Hapur, a village near Delhi after a low-cost machine for manufacturing sanitary napkins, invented by social entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham (the inspiration for the Akshay Kumar-starrer Pad Man), is installed in the village. The film has been co-produced by Guneet Monga.
The documentary feature is set in Hapur village outside Delhi, where women lead a quiet revolution as they fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. For generations, these women did not have access to sanitary pads, which lead to health issues and girls dropping out from schools.
When a sanitary pad vending machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering their community. They name their brand “FLY”.
The women not only learned how to use a pad but also started to manufacture it.
Interestingly, this is a village where the word ‘period’ was mentioned in hushed tones or was accompanied by a hearty laugh. Girls were forced to quit school and as one of the women in the films says, “Girls don’t have much freedom. We aren’t encouraged to work or be independent.”