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Chhapaak Goosebumps & Tears

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I  already have my  favourite film  of 2020.  Nothing else that  will come  during the  year, absolutely nothing can surpass the sublimity and  purity of  intention visible in Meghna Gulzar’s  third  feature film Chhapaak.She  directed films before  .But her career started  with Talvar.

The  2-minute trailer of the film categorically puts forward  a  case for Deepika Padukone’s first National award.The  queen  of  the boxoffice here delivers a  performance that and Ranveer Singh can proudly  show  to their  children, except that the  children  won’t recognize their mother in  Chhapaak. They will probably be frightened when they see this woman  with a ravaged face. 

There  is a  shot in the trailer  of  Chhapaak  where a little boy on the  street screams   out when he  sees  acid victim  Malti’s face. More than the  boy’s scram, it is Malti’s flinch that  made me jump out of  my skin.The cruelty and  callousness  of  the world matters  only when it affects us personally. For it to not affect us we need a thick skin, which Deepika’s Malti doesn’t have. Not when her face  has been  burnt ,peeling off layers and  layers  of skin leaving her with no face to  call her own.

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 Meghna Gulzar lets us hear  Malti’s scream when she sees herself for  the  first time after recovering from the acid attack.It’s a scream that  embraces  the  pain humiliation hurt and  shock of every victim of  abuse, male  or female  , in  the universe. It’s a scream  so  primeval it penetrates  the core of the gender issue bringing to  the  surface a  hurt so  deep it cannot be manifested in  words  and a wound that never heals.

“There is no nose no ears. Where do I  wear  my ear rings?” Malti asks. It’s question that resonates  in the universe  for all  of us  to answer.

Yet Chhapaak doesn’t seem to be a film about grieving and selfpity. As portrayed by Deepika the  acid victim Maliti seems in  a happy space so much so that the journalist(Vikrant Massey)  who comes  to interview her  asks her to …well, stop being so happy because it’s just in character with a  disfigured  acid victim.

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Abb  khush hoon toh kya karun,” is Deepika/Malti’s  bewildered bemused response.

All of these sometimes-diverse  emotions , I  felt  coursing through the veins  of Meghna Gulzar’s  Chhapaak.  a film that I am sure will, make  a  splash.

Trailer  Rating: ****(4 stars)