Directed by: Meghna Gulzar
Starring: Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey, Ankit Bisht, Delzad Hiwale
Genre: Biography, Family, Drama
Release Date: 10 January 2020
Running Time: 138 Minutes
Chhapaak is an upcoming Indian Hindi-language film directed by Meghna Gulzar and produced by Deepika Padukone and Meghna Gulzar in collaboration with Fox Star Studios. It stars Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey, and is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. The film was announced on 24 December 2018 by Padukone on her Twitter account, revealing the details of the film. Principal photography of the film commenced on 25 March 2019 and was wrapped on 4 June, it is scheduled for release on January 10, 2020. The film also marks Padukone’s first project as a producer.
According to director Meghna Gulzar, Deepika Padukone is playing Malti, a character inspired by the character of Laxmi Agarwal. Vikrant Massey is playing Amol, a social activist (and later Malti’s partner) inspired by the character of Alok Dixit.
Principal photography of Chhapaak began on 25 March 2019. The film was wrapped up on 4 June 2019.
Chhapaak is scheduled to release in theaters on 10 January 2020.
Chhapaak Movie Trailer:
#Muh Dikhai 2.0
Chhapaak Movie Review:
In this film, when an acid attack victim is subtly dismissed in a job interview, the interviewer inquires why she hadn’t mentioned her disfigurement in the application. To this, she retorts with a vacant expression, “Acid
survivors ki koi category nahin hoti hain, warna bhar deti.” While referring to such victims as ‘survivors’ is flippant and only alludes to their compromised existence, the line compresses the silent sufferings of those who are routinely stigmatized for their scars.
This one’s based on the inspiring story of acid attack victim Laxmi Agarwal, whose unflinching determination and legal discourse contributed to curbing such hate crimes by restricting access to acids. Left with a face deprived of features or function, Laxmi’s tumultuous life is a portrait of a woman who refuses to be determined by her uniquely constrained circumstances and strives for positive change.
But dramatizing the life of an acid victim could run the risk of producing a discomforting watch. From the very act of mutilating a human beyond recognition to fleshing out a story of hurt and seclusion, almost every turn would find the maker in a precarious position. But Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak, the onomatopoeic rendition of the heinous act of dousing one with acid, manages a narrative that’s sensitive rather than exploitative.
Chhapaak’s lead is Malti (Deepika Padukone) whose aspirations were suspended when she was splashed with acid by a spurned lover). But the story opens at a point where we see her as a woman striving to move on from her compromised position by joining an NGO for acid victims. The film tactfully translates the debilitating state of such victims by detailing those that Malti attends to. Along the way, we also witness her own ordeal in negotiating the judiciary, judgmental cops (one even questions the number of messages from boys in her phone) and multiple reconstructive surgeries that only manage an approximation of her previous self. But what best conveys the hurt and discrimination are the stares that such victims attract – some horrified, some empathetic, some curious about the sequence of events that possibly led to their state.
As a leading actress, Padukone’s decision to consider a part where she would be compelled to part with her vanity is commendable… She’s so invested in her Malti, one almost forgets about the actress under the layers of prosthetic and that itself is an achievement. Vikrant Massey who plays Amol, an activist who runs an NGO, is on point. His character may seem excessively grumpy but it was perhaps only so that Malti’s could seem exceptionally hopeful in the same frame. But one of the striking performances comes from Madhurjeet Sarghi, who completes Malti’s attorney Archana with just the right amount of compassion and conviction.
Meghna Gulzar has shown an almost-clinical approach to narrating police procedural ( Talvar) and even tightly-strung espionage thrillers (Raazi). Her methodology has been to assemble the particulars of the story in a manner that even when the end is known, one is sufficiently excited, hopeful and even tense throughout the film. While this story lacks that tension, the horrific episodes of assault pack the proceedings with sufficient
dread to leave one singularly disturbed.
Enduring abominable assaults, often inflicted by scorned lovers, bitter relatives or even unprovoked strangers, can sharply alter one’s very being. The wounds may be skin-deep but the hurt permeates into their very consciousness and rips their self-worth to shreds. And this is a story of a woman who has been through it all and yet, discards the distinction extended to her.
Song Title: Nok Jhok
Singers: Siddharth Mahadevan
Song Title: Chhapaak – Title Track
Singers: Arijit Singh