REVIEW : CHHAPAAK
Quite contrary to public perception, Meghna Gulzar’s CHHAPAAK is not the first movie on the theme of acid attack survivors. In April 2019, there was a Malayalam movie UYARE, which also was on the same subject.
I hold the trio of female Bollywood directors ( Meghna Gulzar, Zoya Akthar and Ashwini Iyer Tewari) in great awe, for the sensitivity in which they have handled themes. Meghna Gulzar’s last release was the very well made RAAZI, Zoya’s was GULLY BOY and Ashwini’s was BAREILLY KI BARFI. One has therefore begun to accept a particular standard from these names.
And from that point of view, CHHAPAAK doesn’t disappoint. In true Meghna Gulzar style, there isn’t an iota of melodrama despite the gravity of the movie based on the real life story of an acid attack survivor. The scene that tugs at your emotions is the one where Deepika, (who plays the lead role) wants to put on her ear ring and realizes that one ear is not there! But the narration which sans melodrama to such an extent also has the danger of beginning to look like a boring documentary. In several places, CHHAPAAK come close to being that.
This is easily Deepika’s best performance till date and she plays out her character not in a manner to attract sympathy, but to portray the grit to face the world in the face of the oddities in which she finds herself in because of what’s happened to her face. Her male support, played by Vikrant Massey also does a good job, but for me the best part of CHHAPAAK is the outstandingly haunting theme song whose lyrics have been penned by Gulzar and sung by Arijit Singh.
If I were to compare the Malayalam UYARE ( presently available on NETFLIX with English subtitles), with CHHAPAAK, UYARE scores better on all fronts. And Parvathy Menon’s performance is a shade better than Deepika’s!
RATING : 3.5 out of 5
January 17th, 2020