When Laxmi Agarwal watched Chhapaak with daughter Pihu

Updated: Jan 15, 2020, 07:40 IST | Sonia Lulla | Mumbai

Acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal watches Chhapaak with her daughter Pihu, leading to a heart-warming conversation between the two

Laxmi, her daughter and Deepika
Laxmi, her daughter and Deepika

Despite being told otherwise, acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal recently sat with daughter Pihu, four, to watch Chhapaak, the Deepika Padukone starrer that is inspired by her life. Agarwal wasn't certain how much her daughter would comprehend of the crime committed on her.

She usually leaves a film half-way, but patiently watched this one till the end. She then posed questions, one by one, all of which I addressed. After the film, she showered me with so much love. She also went and hugged Deepika. I wanted to make a video of her [reacting to the film] and show the world what she felt, in her own words," Agarwal tells mid-day in a joint conversation with director Meghna Gulzar.

Laxmi Agarwal with  daughter Pihu. Pic/Instagram
Laxmi Agarwal with daughter Pihu. Pic/Instagram

In what can be considered an achievement for Chhapaak, the Uttarakhand government recently announced its plan to start a monthly pension scheme of R6,000 for acid-attack survivors in the wake of the film's release. Agarwal is hopeful that other states will follow suit. The human drama, she says, has not only underlined the heinous crime but also made people increasingly empathetic towards survivors. Citing an example, she says, "Those residing in Chandni Chowk are old-school, and generally make fun of people [like me].

But, today when I was there, shop owners invited me in and saluted me. The film has given us a place in people's hearts. Today, we've got over the pain that people gave us."

A still from Chhapaak
A still from Chhapaak

Gulzar asserts her objective to make Chhapaak was to bring these heroes to the fore, who were rendered "invisible" by society. "They were invisible, not because they were covering their faces, but because we didn't look at them. [Now] the way we're seeing them has changed. Today, we shared a video [from an NGO] where a [survivor] spoke of how people's reaction to her has changed. For me, that is as big an impact as the [Uttarakhand government's step]," she says.

Meghna Gulzar
Meghna Gulzar

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