“Chhapaak” Review: An Emotionally Involving Film With Startling Realism
Mohnish Singh |Jan 10, 2020, 18:30
“Chhapaak” is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, played impeccably by Deepika Padukone. The Meghna Gulzar directorial also stars Vikrant Massey in an important role.
Chhapaak is a film that has been in news ever since its announcement. There are various reasons to it. Firstly, it is based on a real-life incident. Secondly, it stars Deepika Padukone in the lead role of an acid attack survivor. Apart from fronting the cast, Padukone also makes her debut as a producer with Chhapaak. The film marks her return to silver screen after a gap of two years as her last release Padmaavat (2018) hit theatres in January, 2018. Let’s find out whether or not the film meets the high expectations of the audience.
Story: Inspired by a disturbing, real-life story, Chhapaak revolves around Malti (Deepika Padukone), a young 19-year-old student studying in a government college in New Delhi. She is in love with a boy from another college. But things go awry when a family friend, Bashir Khan, who harbours thoughts of marrying her despite the fact that she calls him brother. When Malti does not reciprocate to his advances, angered Bashir, with the help of her sister, throws acid on Malti, changing her life forever. How Malti comes to terms with her new reality, how she fights for herself and many other girls in the same situation as hers and how she brings her life back on tracks is what forms the crux of the story.
Critical Analysis: The word ‘chhapaak’ has many meanings in Hindi, but after watching this Meghna Gulzar directorial, you will start looking at this beautiful, lyrical word very differently. Meghna, who has previously helmed such films as Talvar (2015) and Raazi (2018), once again proves that how amazingly capable she is at telling stories that have realism in them and revolve around women. Chhapaak is the most stunning example of her craftmanship as a filmmaker.
Despite its formulaic structure, Chhapaak has a lot going for it. It is highly impactful mainly due to the confident direction of Meghna Gulzar and powerful performance from Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey. It takes a lot for a mainstream actress to keep her glamour and star status aside and slip into the skin of a character that has a brunt face. It’s the bravest choice that Deepika Padukone could possibly have made in her more than a decade long career.
While direction and performances succeed in creating the impact that the makers intended to, the film suffers from a weak screenplay. A real-life story which deals with a serious issue does not often allow a filmmaker to take a lot of creative liberties and hence, the importance of a taut screenplay increases manifold. Chhapaak becomes repetitive at times, but the presence of Deepika Padukone keeps you engrossed.
Final Verdict: Chhapaak is an important film of our times which leaves you with misty eyes and heavy heart because of its serious subject matter. Deepika Padukone delivers one of her career’s best performances as Malti. Vikrant Massey ably supports her with his strained performance. Meghna Gulzar’s film is a little weak in writing, but it does not fail to create the impact that the filmmaker wanted to have on viewers. I am going with 3.5 stars.
Banner: KA Productions, Mriga Films, Fox Star Studios
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Casting: Deepika Padukone
Runtime: 123 Minutes
STARBIZ Rating: 3.5 Stars