Arunachalam Muruganantham (Padman) is a social entrepreneur from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, India. He is the inventor of a low-cost sanitary pad-making machine and is credited for innovating grassroots mechanisms for generating awareness about traditional unhygienic practices around menstruation in rural India. His mini-machines, which can manufacture sanitary pads for less than a third of the cost of commercial pads, have been installed in 23 of the 29 states of India. He is currently planning to expand the production of these machines to 106 nations. The movie "Period. End of Sentence." won the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for the year 2018.
In 2014, he was included in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2016, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.Muruganantham's invention is widely praised as a key step in changing women's lives in India. The machine creates jobs and income for many women, and affordable pads enable many more women to earn their livelihood during menstruation. In addition to his own outreach, Muruganantham's work has also inspired many other entrepreneurs to enter this area, including some who propose to use waste banana fiber or bamboo for this purpose.
Muruganantham has become well-known as a social entrepreneur. He has given lectures at many institutions including IIT Bombay, IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Goa Campus and Harvard University. He has also given a TED talk. His story was the subject of a prize-winning documentary by Amit Virmani, "Menstrual Man," and the film "Phullu" (2017) directed by Abhishek Saxena. Director R. Balki cast Indian actor Akshay Kumar as Laxmikant Chauhan in a film based on Muruganantham's life, titled "Pad Man."
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