Chhapaak tells a touching story, but it does not fall into a melodrama that resembles most Bollywood films. In the hands of director Meghna Gulzar (‘Talvar’, ‘Raazi’), a story based on the true events of the unfortunate story that befell Laxmi Agarwal; her face was doused with hard water so that she was damaged both physically and psychologically, with the potential to become a crybaby. However, Meghna tackled the issue with maturity that is rarely found in most other Bollywood directors. He did not make the subject of the film, Malti (Deepika Padukone, ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’), a suffering figure that needed to be pitied.
The scenario also doesn’t tell the story of his suffering after being doused with hard water. The story focuses instead on how Malti can rise from the misfortune that befell her, and try, through non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and his lawyers, to help people with the same fate seem to go through periods of trauma and continue to live.
Right at the beginning of the film we are given a picture of how Malti was walking on a sidewalk in the morning, attacked by someone who splashed hard water on her face. An old man who happened to be not far from her approached to help, pouring mineral water into his face. Malti cried out in pain. Then she was taken to the hospital.
Step by step we see the change in her face to be damaged, so that it takes seven operations to repair her face, it did not even make it look like it was before. Games Online dan Offline
The brave and meticulous decisions of the scriptwriter duo Atika Chohan (‘Margarita with a Straw’, ‘Waiting’) and Meghna Gulzar (‘Talvar’, ‘Raazi’) who concoct the film’s story by not making it a story about Malti, but rather the setting behind Malti’s story is used to encourage a larger narrative, highlighting the fact that despite the increasing trend of attacks on women in India using hard water, these chemicals are still sold freely, and the state does nothing about it.
She met Amol (Vikrant Massey, ‘Criminal Justice’, ‘Dharam Veer’), an activist from an NGO who tried to get the government to ban the sale of hard water freely. Their story is not present like in most films that present the love story of two lovebirds, which among others are often filled with scenes of sweet dialogue in the form of seduction, or scenes with romantic backgrounds. In this film the sub-plot of their romance is worked on with a totally non-traditional nuance, even there is a dialogue that meta commented on it, through Amol who said to Malti, “Such stories only exist in films.
The above sentence was uttered when Malti held a party for the victory she had just achieved. She invited many people to gather, dance accompanied by cheerful music, and Amol who came later seemed unhappy over the ‘rah-rah’ behavior. “I was doused with hard water, not you. However, it is as if you are the victim. I want to have fun today, “Malti said to Amol, who was stunned later.
That is the attitude of the filmmaker who I admire in working on this film, even though it tells the story of misfortune, but basically ‘Chhapaak’ is a film that celebrates the spirit of humanity, about courage, and how women who are victims refuse that their lives are not determined by fate bad luck that befell them.
Instead of selling melodrama by focusing on a Malti, this film is filled with procedural scenes of how the police handle cases that afflict Malti, as well as scenes of trials in an attempt to make law in India provide the maximum rewards for the perpetrators of hard watering. It is ironic that the law in India considers hard watering actions, which can ruin someone’s life permanently, is considered to be no different from, for example the action of someone who splashes a cup of hot coffee on someone else.
Supported by a very convincing prosthetic make-up, and of course with his best efforts, Deepika Padukone disappeared, melting into the character he played almost impeccably. Not a single moment made me realize that the figure in the film was the Padukone superstar, for example like through ‘Padmaavat’, I consciously still saw him as Padukone as is the superstar, not Padmavati, the character he played in the film.
‘Chhapaak’ also gives us an ending, an epilogue to be exact, one of the most shocking ones I have ever witnessed in recent years. When I smile watching the victory achieved by our protagonist, but then we are stuffed with facts that really make us lost! And that haunted me for days.