Chhapaak: Real heroes now on reel
Chhapaak director Meghna Gulzar casts real-life acid attack survivors as supporting cast.
Since Chhapaak is her endeavour to highlight the violent crime of acid attacks on women, director Meghna Gulzar decided to rope in real-life acid attack survivors to play pivotal roles in the Deepika Padukone-fronted drama.
"In the film, Malti [Padukone] and Amol [Vikrant Massey] run an NGO where survivors and volunteers work together. I thought, why not rope in real-life survivors to play these parts? We have Ritu, Jitu, Bala and Komti from the Sheroes Hangout and Chhanv Foundation acting in the film. They are so uninhibited in front of the camera. Directing them was a precious experience," says Gulzar.
While many might wonder why Laxmi Agarwal, on whose life the film is based, didn't play the part, Meghna says, "As hard as it may be to believe but Laxmi acting in the film, or wanting to act in the film or showing any desire to act in the film never came up, directly or indirectly. One would have needed a professional and proficient actor who could deliver to the calibre of the performance. None of us including Laxmi would want to lose out on the substance and impact of the film. I feel Laxmi too realised the gravity of performance required in the film and therefore it just never came up."
Ask about the four survivors she cast and she says, "Convincing them was not difficult at all. In fact, I was blown away with their enthusiasm for the film. They feel it's a very significant film to the cause of acid attack survivors. They supported the film wholeheartedly. Working on Chhapaak was another way of supporting the film. They delivered beyond our expectations," says the prolific filmmaker.
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