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Muruganantham was impressed by the Gates’ eagerness to learn – to know all about the frugal formula of making sanitary pads.“He was certain I could teach him something.” The potential of this creation to touch the lives of every woman in this country had Bollywood knocking on the Padmashri award winner’s doors.In his own words, “I was told a lady called Twinkle was insisting on talking to me, but I didn’t know her then, and the matter ended there.” It was a year-and-a-half later that he met Twinkle Khanna, Akshay Kumar’s wife, and who would become the producer of the film, in London.Among 100 Most Influential People, the inventor from the suburbs of Coimbatore city was driven to finding a solution when he was dismayed at seeing his wife resort to unhygienic methods to manage her period days as the family could not afford sanitary pads for its women.“I saw my wife tip-toeing around with some rag in her hand, something which I wouldn’t use to clean my two-wheeler with,” said Muruganantham about the day the ‘affordable pad’ idea was probably conceived.“My first reaction was to rush to the store to buy sanitary pads, and when I returned with them bundled in a newspaper, my wife said that if we continue buying these pads, the milk has to be struck off the monthly budget list, and she didn’t favour that,” Muruganantham recalled.Twinkle’s maiden production venture will be the success story of a social entrepreneur, who brushed aside patenting his product and threw open its production to anyone who wanted to earn that extra income to lead a decent life and the resources to send their children to school.The business model is evolving, encompassing within its fold counselling for and information to women and their families, said Muruganantham.“I first approached my wife and sisters, and then the medical college students, but they were reluctant and refused to help.”Unfazed, Muruganantham adopted simple engineering, which took the place of the natural menstruation process, to test the absorption capacity of the pad but, however, through a seemingly bizarre method that forced his rattled wife to leave him, and the society to shun the ‘mad man’.“I filled animal blood in a bag that was attached to a piston that would regularly pump blood onto the pads, which I wore.” Muruganantham, who said he was certain his wife will return to him, which she did and is now a partner in the mission, was however happy to be left alone to carry out his research in his ‘lab’ – a little room in the backyard of his house, where the first low-cost pad would be produced off a machine that brought the inventor and Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates together in Seattle, US.

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It helps produce world-class pads with a capital of Rs 2-3 lakh against a Rs 500-crore investment norm to run such an industry,” said Muruganantham, the 55-year-old proprietor of Jayashree Industries, whose achievements headlined several international publications.The multi-billion dollar sanitary pad industry pales before its, perhaps, only ‘country cousin’ – a successful business model that was born out of Arunachalam Muruganantham’s earnestness to make menstrual hygiene accessible to every woman in the country.“My mission is to generate 1 million jobs and make India a 100 per cent sanitary napkin-use country, where now less than 12 per cent of women use pads,” Muruganantham told The man behind the movie is Muruganantham.Wearing titles such as ‘menstruation Muruganantham’ on his sleeves, the inventor was nudged into making affordable pads to help his new wife, but was ostracised for adopting ‘weird’ methods to test the functionality of his creation.You're supporting the growth and expansion of a media platform that will act to fact check and counter malicious fake news being spread about India. You'll be contributing to a platform that is obsessed with issues affecting India's future.

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