Chhapaak - A diluted social commentary
Chhapaak (the sound of splash), is a film based on the real life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal who has filed a PIL seeking a complete ban on the sale of Acid. Last year we had great Malayalam film, Uyare which also dealt with acid attack survivor theme. Even-though there is no correlation beyond a common theme, I liked Uyare far better than this, as it followed the story of the protagonist in a organic way, starting with a little cute love story, that turning into a violent one , the vicious attack and then the optimism of the victim to raise above the bar. Even with many melodramatic elements, it did manage to create an impact as it rightly packaged everything.
Dont get me wrong, this still is a good film shining a light on a very real problem of acid attacks on women and did a good job in humanizing acid attack victims. But for any film to succeed an effective narration is key whether its based on true story or not. The film lacked the emotional character connect and punch to make me feel strongly. The juggle in chronology with one-dimensional look failed to attain right balance required to bring the needed focus and attention that it deserved.
Lot of people praised Deepika for her performance, i felt its just good enough and nothing to rave about. The love angle did not fit the overall mood of the film. Chhapaak did had several moments where you can virtually feel the pain. The lyrics and timing of some of the songs were just brilliant and thats the only thing that appeared to accentuate the drama a bit. The third act of flash back felt too late in the game for me.
Meghna Gulzar in an interview said let’s hope this film starts a conversation on what could be probable solutions. Will it, i doubt? What is really required is for the Parliament to introduce a bill establishing life sentences for those guilty of acid attacks, a complete ban and let is pass it unanimously. Lets get the priorities right please. And that to me is called the real progress.
I cannot get this powerful lyrics out of my mind - "Koyi chehra mita ke, Aur ankh se hata ke, Chand chheentein udaa ke jo gaya, Chhapaak se pehchaan le gaya"
Verdict - 3/5 (Ab Saans bhi Khulne lagi hai)