Acid Attack is a hideous and a cowardly crime which is still prevalent in India. This week releases Chhapaak based on a true incident which occurred in 2005. As a part of my prep, a week earlier I watched the Parvathy starrer Malayalam film, ‘Uyare’, on Netflix which tackled a similar subject. This was purely to get an even comparison between the two films. While Uyare is highly recommended by me(probably a 4 on 5 if I were to rate it), does Chhapaak achieve a similar feat….lets find out.
Chhapaak follows the story of Malti(the actual victim was Laxmi) who has acid thrown on her pretty face and how her life changes post it. The story is a good one and follows a different trajectory from Uyare telling a story in almost a documentary style. The screenplay is well penned in the first hour where we get to know about Malti’s case and the eventual culprits. The second half is a bit disjointed and a bit lukewarm for a major part till it falls back on track in the climax. And that scene at the end is chillingly dreadful. The dialogues are subtle. The music is decent. Director Meghna Gulzar after Raazi, excels once again in the direction. Well her style is definitely to keep the drama subtle over something more melodramatic.
Madhurjeet Sarghi is earnest as Malti’s lawyer. Payal Nair is good as Shiraz. Vishal Dahiya is menacing as the main culprit and you really want to beat him in pulp ! Vikrant Massey is sincere though his role is unidimensional. Deepika Padukone has the responsibility to shoulder the movie and boy has she delivered! One of the finest of her career yet, she just eats into her role such that you don’t for a minute think she is Deepika. She is Malti all the way through!
Chhapaak is a slow burn (no pun intended) and lukewarm in parts but it is relevant backed by a towering performance by its main lead. Now time for a couple of rants!! The movie courted an unnecessary controversy of whether it had changed the culprit’s name from Bashir to Rajesh. It hasn’t though the original name of the culprit was Naeem. But then how does that matter? Religion has nothing to do with ANY crime whatsoever. Period. My reply to “whomsoever” it may concern! Secondly, what is wrong with men( not all btw) in this country. The slightest of things and their ego is hurt. How do people get thoughts of acid attack or rape? About time the country changes and about time WE do too! Men are you listening? Watch Chhapaak in a theatre near you! Falls marginally short of Uyare but this story needs to be told too!
PS : The acid attack victims in the film along with Deepika weren’t actors, they were actual survivors! Read that again!