Chhapaak released on 10 Jan 2020
Chhapaak Movie Brief
It was the year 2005 and a 17-year-old was dancing inside a two-room servant quarter in one of the bungalows in Delhi’s posh Golf Lawns on Sonu Nigam’s melodious song “har pal yahaan har pal yahaan, jee bhar jiyo, jo hai samaa, Kal ho na ho”, the latest chartbuster on the radio. Abhijeet Sawant, Amit Sana, and Rahul Vaidya were fighting for the first Indian Idol.
This stood true for Malti as her life had totally changed after her last song memories in her ears. The time had taken a 180-degree turn.
Malti fell on the ground as soon as the song had ended; dealing with unbearable pain, alone passerby poured water on her head. She screamed. He dialed 100. A PCR took Malti to the hospital. Someone had thrown acid on her said by the Doctor and the police began hunting for the attacker.
Police asked her parents that “Aapki beti toh girls’ school mein padhti hai. Saare phone numbers ladko ke kyu hai use phone mein?” The spectator shifts uncomfortably in her chair in the theatre. Always the attacker goes in question. And then begins the whole story.
Malti went through pain and was very difficult to accept herself, and the film makes us hope with her. Director Meghna Gulzar did not let one forget her central character struggle for the strong-willed moment. For an enthusiastic Malti, Meghna had pushed ahead a distrustful Amol. “Nirashawadi,” someone teases him.
The shooting of Chhapaak began in 2012 when Delhi was crying we want justice for the gangrape victim. Among this crowd, a man was holding up the photo of an acid victim in front of a TV camera. He was asked to move out of the frame. Amol spat at the crew, “Rape ke aage acid ki kya keemat”. Uncle ko samajh hi nahi aata.” Meghna Gulzar took us next to Malti’s story, trying hard to make us understand why, why one should do this to someone. The director then gets caught her viewer through the courtrooms where once hope sank into hopelessness and later which again transformed into hope. Life kept oscillating between what could have been and what is.
The story of Chhapaak lies in its crisp narrative, backed by some solid performances by each one of the stars. The lead role is played by Deepika Padukone, the Pretty-Face Padukone, who had let go of that face for this film. Deepika tried hard into Malti and connected the audience to struggle with her, scream with her when she first saw her new face. As she had looked at the mirror and tried inserting a jhumka through her earlobe, and then realizes the acid has taken even that away, one happens to hear her heartbreaking. The director uses song ‘har ghadi Badal rahi hai roop Zindagi’ in the background, on that same radio, which makes one very touchy and feels sorry for it. One happens to realize what Rs-30 bottle of acid did.
Director Meghna Gulzar had brought Laxmi Agarwal’s story to film with stunning clarity. Chhapaak stays brutally honest and close to the story of Laxmi. The religion’ of the attacker had included, Bashir Khan’s (Vishal Dahiya) Joe Goldbergesque eyes piercing through the viewers, making them uncomfortable.
Madhurjeet Sarghi further brought in a powerful lawyer in for her Archana Bajaj. Vikrant Massey, the ever-reliable Vikrant Massey, did a spectacular job yet again. Vikrant as Amol was too pained by the plight of the acid attack victims as he heads an NGO for. So much so, that he was told by Malti for being a killjoy: Aapka problem pata hai kya hai? Aapko lagta hai aap pe acid pheka gaya hai. In that one sentence, the director gave us Vikrant and Deepika and gave us their characters.
The dialogues of the film were very simple. They did their job of telling a story without letting down heavy on the ears. Meghna Gulzar had let Deepika’s face do the rest in the movie. Acid is still being sold and bought for ‘prices cheaper than cola’. The last attack, Chhapaak said, was on December 7, 2019. The last reported attack, of course.
Chhapaak made one feel every moment of an acid survivor’s life. It was a shame therefore that Meghna and her team let the songs hamper the pace of the film. Some of the songs were necessary and did not seem to interfere. The title pathway Chhapaak in Arijit Singh’s voice stayed with us throughout. The relationship between Deepika and her brother too left frustratingly unexplored, to the point that not even a word is exchanged between the siblings. At points, the editing was not smooth.
❍ The Chhapaak Movie Rating is 4 out of 5 stars
Chhapaak Movie Reviews of Celebrities:–
Music Composer Vishal Dadlani wrote, “It is a minstrels duty to remind people of crimes committed & those that may yet be committed. We tell the stories, sound the warnings, remind people of hope, empathy & humanity. We are the lone voice in the dark, that says “there will be light.” @deepikapadukone #Chhapaak.”
Gulshan Devaiah, who was last seen in Ghost Stories, wrote, “Your eyes will well up and your hearts will be filled with empathy. #Chappak by @meghnagulzar @foxstarhindi starring @deepikapadukone @masseysahib & others (brilliant casting by #GautamKishanchandani). Music so beautifully balanced with the film by #ShankarEhsaanLoy.” About the performances, he wrote, “@deepikapadukone leads from the front and this is, in my opinion, her absolute best yet. @masseysahib superb performance!! My absolute best wishes Bhai. I can’t articulate what I have been feeling since last night. This movie will never leave my mind!!! Many cheers (sic).
He added, “@deepikapadukone please take a bow. As a producer to have the strength to back such a strong story and as a performer to go out there and give your best performance to date. You made me cry but you also taught me to fight and finally smile. God bless you. #Chhappak (sic).”
❍ In-depth Analysis
The overall critic’s rating is not an average of the sub scores below.
Direction: 3.5/5 Dialogues: 3.5/5
Screenplay: 3.0/5 Music: 4.0/5
Visual appeal: 3.5/5