Stole the Identity with a Splash – Chhapaak will break you apart, yet make you more humane!

The film is on hotstar. If you’ve missed the film, you’ve missed an important lesson in life. Nothing negative, just the fact that you can go on despite anything and everything – and you are far luckier than the unfortunate situations Laxmi found herself in. The message is that we can beat anything, if only we take the first step with courage.

RG’s Blog Take on Chhapaak

I had decided not to watch much trailers, also the real story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal before watching the film. It would have hampered my viewing experience, but more importantly, I am now able to judge the film better with respect to the stories that I have read later regarding the acid attack victims and survivors. The first mention I’d like to make, thus, is to the writers Meghna Gulzar and Atika Chohan, and director Meghna Gulzar. There’s hardly any note in the film that is fake, or not true. Inspired by Laxmi Agarwal’s tale, this film has shades of many other stories in the same film, because in the end, it is about the acid attack, the fight for the laws, and hopefully stop the sale of acids.

About Laxmi Agarwal, the girl on whose the film is based, I can only say that she is an inspiration. I cannot even imagine what goes through, but to come out of it and inspire so many people almost sounds impossible. In fact, the cynics would have called this movie a marketing strategy. You should follow the brave girl to really know her. Chhapaak would help, but not entirely.

Apart from the film, what hurt more were the reactions around something non-filmy really. An actor took a stand against violence. She received rape threats. She even received acid-attack threats. A couple of weeks later, she spoke on mental health, and the great people said that she is still mentally ill. All this constitutes to patriarchal methods of suppression of any woman who has a voice. Male ego and suppression show themselves in different ways – rape, murders, acid-attacks, etc.

That is the crux of Chhapaak, how a guy could not accept rejection and decided to teach the girl a lesson. And yet, how a girl doesn’t give up and continues her journey upwards. The film will break you at times, will make you cringe at the sight. But imagine, that’s the reality of Laxmi Agarwal and countless others.

Deepika Padukone is just so brilliant. She produced this film too, and it takes guts to do that. Vikrant Massey is just so apt. He is the Classy Massey. The rest of the cast is brilliant. In fact the film has cast real-life acid attack victims in the film. Music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy is so touching, and even more touching are the lyrics by Gulzar. ‘Chhapaak se pehchaan le gaya’ is so beautifully written that even the song had haunted me for days before the film had released.

The film is on hotstar. If you’ve missed the film, you’ve missed an important lesson in life. Nothing negative, just the fact that you can go on despite anything and everything – and you are far luckier than the unfortunate situations Laxmi found herself in. The message is that we can beat anything, if only we take the first step with courage.

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