Deepika Padukone's one act of solidarity with the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has divided the nation, sparked a massive Twitter war and given a political colour to her purely social drama 'Chhapaak,'.
BJP Delhi spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga has called for a boycott of Chhapaak, while BJP leader Gopal Bhargava advised the actor to "dance" like a "heroine," instead of getting into activism.
Meanwhile, Chhapaak has been declared tax-free in the Congress-ruled states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Deepika has also received support from the Samajwadi Party. The official handle of the party wrote on Twitter that an entire theatre in Lucknow was booked to show the film to workers in the city.
Watch the trailer of "Chhapaak" here
So, let's see what is the movie is all about.
It has hit screens this weekend. Starring Deepika Padukone as Malti and Vikrant Massey as Amol, the film is based on the life of acid attack survivor and social activist Laxmi Agarwal. She was burned with acid in New Delhi in 2005 at the age of 15 only, and has since become an advocate for banning the sale of acid in India. Deepika Padukone plays the protagonist Malti in the movie.
The director Meghna Gulzar takes a light approach to this heavy subject, using familiar approaches for softening the story. The visual effects used to represent Malti's burns are an extraordinary mix of makeup and prosthetics, which subtly change as she receives treatments. Gulzar has also cast real survivors of acid assaults and the camera rests just as plainly on their faces as it does upon Malti's.
Gulzar emphasizes the dignity of survivors and the joy that exists even after devastating injury. Many of the most moving scenes feature Malti and real survivors playing and fantasizing about future treatments, their faces lit up not in pain but in laughter. This emphasizes the details of the movie profoundly and with a strong approach.
Meghna Gulzaar has done a tremendous job by making a sensitive story worth watching. It is a story that can make you sob and smile at the same time. Chhapaak also has several moments where you feel the pain of an acid attack survivor -- the scene where Deepika screams looking at her face in the mirror for the first time after the attack, or when she is trying to put an earring but can't are heart-wrenching. Her agony and helplessness touches heart; more so because at no point Meghna makes her protagonist beg for sympathy or let her succumb to self-pity. Instead she is shown to empower herself and many others, finding her self-worth and making the most of the life that she has to live after the unfortunate incident.
Overall, 'Chhaapak' is a sensitive film with a delicate, yet powerful, handling of a heinous crime against women, and an important story that needs to be heard.