Cast: Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey, Madhurjeet Sarghi, Vaibhavi Upadhyaya, Payal Kapoor
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Chhapaak is a very touching and courageous story of an acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal. They bring up Deepika Padukone as Malti Agarwal as a character modeled on the real-life acid attack survivor. The story revolves around how she fights her battle with the legal system. She is on two parallel tracks- one pertaining to the trial of the perpetrator and the other to Malti’s PIL seeking a ban on the sale of acid.
When the film opens, we see protests going on for Nirbhaya gang rape case in the month of December in 2012. Here we hear Malti’s name for the first time in a conversation between a television reporter on the spot and a journalist-turned-activist Amol played by Vikrant Massey. This comes up as they mention about the PIL that the acid attack survivor has filed seeking a complete ban on over-the-counter sale of acid.
While watching the film, Deepika’s acting and Atika Chohan and Meghna Gulzar’s storyline puts you through a rollercoaster of emotions. We are made to feel what Malti feels. We are shown why her story is so unique. It is because she refused to let this incident ruin her life. Instead of getting pulled down by fear and shame, she stands up and fights back.
This is a movie which shows how the law deals with such cases in India. The legal battle was dragged on for seven years for Malti. Her life was a constant struggle and not at all peaceful. Basic thing like employment and social acceptance was difficult to achieve. The emotional anguish that she and her family face is extreme.
Deepika Padukone has outshined herself by playing the role of Malti. She was able to depict the feelings of an acid attack survivor in a very raw form. Her character brings out a feeling of strength and courage and not of sympathy and pity. The way we see her scream when she looks at herself in the mirror for the first time after the attack, will definitely give you goosebumps. The movie also underlines a love story between Amol and Malti but it does not take a primary role in the story and Gulzar makes sure that the purpose of the story does not disappear and all blends in. Malti lands a job in an NGO, Chhaya Foundation, which raises funds to help acid attack survivors and this NGO is Amol’s. His character, played by Vikrant is a portrayal of a very reliable pillar of support. He has given a brilliant performance in the film.
Meghna Gulzar has brought out a sensitive film which gives out a very powerful message. It underlines the topic of crimes happening against women and why they should be stopped. By this storyline she showed that how a mere rejection and jealously made a young boy destroy Malti’s life by attacking her with acid.
CineSpeaks Verdict : Chhapaak is a very sensitive film with a dominant and an important message that needs to be heard. However, the 123 minutes film evolves very slowly; the plot could have been shortened a bit. Everyone must watch this movie at least once to put yourself into other’s shoes and see what life they live every day.
CineSpeaks gives Chhapaak 3 stars.
BY RUJUTA THETE