Chhapaak Movie Review: Deepika Padukone as Malti in Chhapaak will Stir Your Innermost Soul!
Chhapaak will surely stand out as the first winner of the new decade, owing to the soul-wrenching story of Malti that it narrates with extreme emotional honesty. Deepika Padukone plays Malti, who survives a hideous acid attack incident at the age of 19 in Delhi's Mayur Market. She is not just an 'acid attack victim' because director Meghna Gulzar in her characterisation of Malti has framed her as anything but a victim. Malti actually becomes a woman all about hope, courage, strength and positivity that will truly inspire every woman who has been a victim of this horrifying crime, or for that matter a beacon to any victim of any crime that can scar you forever, internally and externally.
The drama mirrors the never-ending process of trials and interrogations that test the patience of all victims who decide to fight in front of the eyes of the law and seek justice. It also unmasks the loopholes prevalent in our justice system, serving the same punishment to a person accused of attacking with acid to someone attacking with any other form of hot liquid till 2013, until 326A and 326B were inserted in the Indian Penal Code. It shows how an acid attack-accused can seek easy bails and cannot be punished beyond the mere time limit of 10 years.
Chhapaak will make you feel the pain of all the 'Maltis' in our country, the struggle that they face to survive in our society, to build a career of their own, just for having lost their outer beauty. Most importantly, the film screams out the changes that is needed to be brought in our laws and judicial system to serve justice to these hundreds of victims who are attacked every year.
Deepika as Malti will stir the innermost soul of your heart, and her screams when she gets attacked by acid to the grief and pain when she sees herself in the mirror, will make your heart weep with a truly memorable and phenomenal performance. Malti was attacked by a family acquaintance named Basser Khan, which gets established in the first half hour of the film, but for what reason was she attacked is what will keep you hooked till the last hour of the film.
Vikrant Massey as Amol Dwivedi becomes Malti's strongest pillar in her desire to deliver justice to all the acid attack survivors. Vikrant once again delivers an honest performance that makes him shine out in the film which centers around Malti's plight. Malti and Amol's honest heartfelt feelings for each other will make you breath some fresh air in the film, which might otherwise make you feel heavy on the heart with it's weighty subject.
Meghna Gulzar, after delivering nail-biting dramatic thrillers in Raazi and Talwar, has now made a realistic film that will emotionally tear at you but with sensitivity, utmost care and warmth. The director has enacted a real-life drama with emotional depth that is rarely seen in Indian cinema.
Deepika's prosthetic makeup in the film across different stages post her attack is most believable and transformational, but one must say it also makes this film a difficult watch, and makes you cry from within often. On the music front, from Chhapaak's title in Arijit Singh's voice to its other songs, it's been ages that we saw a film which had songs so situational and well placed in the script. The lyrics are of course penned by none other than the legendary Gulzar. Just like the title of the film 'Chhapaak' which signifies 'splash' of acid, that gets thrown on innocent victims, the lyrics of the songs too are pertinent and disturbing, with the hard-hitting dialogues reinforcing the harsh realities of our society, above all and beyond the inhumanity of such attacks, about how easily and at a cheap cost, the all-destructive acid is still available in our country, truly disturbing to learn.
Chhapaak is not an easy movie experience and will make the viewer go through an 'acid test', but still it's a story that was needed to be told and has to be seen, inspired by the real life story of Laxmi Agarwal; Laxmi’s true strong spirit, determination and her immense will to battle with life, post the hideous incident of acid attack which she suffered at a young age, is the beacon for all acid attack survivors today. This film also marks Deepika's debut as a producer, which she has co-produced with Fox StarStudios and her director.
Disclaimer, the climax is not a happy one, because it's not meant to be a happy one. As even today hundreds of women still get attacked by acid every year, increasing data of which in the end titles leaves you truly disturbed, screaming for change and screaming for humanity to have an awakening.