Chhapaak is a Bollywood biographical-drama, helmed by Meghna Gulzar. Deepika Padukone is in lead role alongside, Vikrant Massey. Chhapaak is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal it is scheduled for release on January 10, 2020. The film revolves around Malti (Deepika Padukone) who is attacked with acid on a street in New Delhi, in 2005. ‘Chhapaak’ then takes us on a journey about surviving an acid attack in India, the medico-legal-social state of affairs that transpires after the acid has been hurled and the face is irreparably burnt.
The movie is directed by Meghna Gulzar and produced by her as well as Deepika Padukone in collaboration with Fox Star Studios with small budget of Rs 35 crore including marketing cost. This is Deepika’s first venture as a producer.
Filming took place from March to June 2019 in New Delhi and Mumbai and the shoot was wrapped up on 4th June 2019.
Born to a middle-class family in Delhi, fifteen-year-old Laxmi dreamed of becoming a singer someday. Naeem Khan, 32, wanted to marry her but she was not interested. He refused to take no for an answer and stalked her, but she continued to reject his advances.
In 2005, Laxmi was on her way to a bookshop in Khan Market, when she was accosted by Naeem, who attacked her with acid. She lay on the street, writhing in pain, until a taxi driver came forward and rushed her to the nearby Safdarjung hospital. She had to undergo multiple surgeries and was in the hospital for three months. “There were no mirrors in the ward I was in. Every morning, the nurse would bring me a bowl of water to help me freshen up and I would try to catch my reflection in that water. I would only see glimpses of a bandaged face. When I first saw my face afterwards, I was devastated. I had no face to speak of,” she told a news website.
The horrific attack could not bring Laxmi down. In 2006, she filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court and sought a total ban on sale of acid. In 2013, the court ruled in favour of her plea, and imposed restrictions on the sale of acid. The same year, Laxmi also became a campaigner for Stop Acid Attacks, founded by Alok Dixit and Ashish Shukla. As Laxmi became the voice of acid attack survivors, she was honoured by former First Lady Michelle Obama with the International Women of Courage Award. She was given the award for her courageous and selfless advocation for justice and human rights.
During her stint with Stop Acid Attacks, Laxmi and Alok fell in love. The couple decided not to get married and opted for a live-in relationship instead. “We are challenging the society by not getting married. We don’t want people to come to our wedding and comment on my looks,” she said in an interview.
Soon after Laxmi and Alok’s daughter Pihu was born, the couple went their separate ways due to differences. Laxmi was struggling to make ends meet and finding it difficult to find employment as well as housing.
In an interview with a leading publication last year, she said, “So many people offered me jobs on reading the news and I am very thankful to them. News has a very short shelf life and after some time, it holds no value. But I want the government to offer me a job as I have to support my mother as well as my daughter. I have to bring her up single-handedly.”
The film’s music is composed by Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy while lyrics are written by Gulzar with only one song “Nok Jhok” sung by Siddharth Mahadevan.