Terrific performance by Deepika

Chhapaak
Rating: 3/5
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Vikrant Massey, Madhurjeet Sarghi
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Language: Hindi (U/A)

Nobody is more honest to Malti (Deepika Padukone) than the mirror on the bathroom wall. The truth — she’s ‘bhoot’ for insensitive alley kids —shatters her, but she picks up the singed threads after a spurned lover settles a score with acid.

Malti (modelled after acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal) is scarred for life, but not scared. The prying media eyes and prolonged court battle sow second thoughts, but she’s sure she wants the perpetrator punished.

Malti removes several layers of stigma, one peel at a time. And after seven reconstructive surgeries, she has a new face and a fresh appetite for justice.

There begins the compelling journey of a vulnerable young woman who wanted to be the next Indian Idol, but had to take cover under a dupatta to hide her deformed dreams.

Deepika Padukone takes the boldest plunge in her career with ‘Chhapaak’. Yes, make-up makes it easy to play a woman without an earlobe and a nostril, but Deepika’s earnestness shines through a pair of eyes that captures all the emotions that a disfigured face aches to express.

All her partners in the crusade are equally delectable. Vikrant Massey makes a mark as the insatiable activist while Madhurjeet Sarghi does a class act as Deepika’s steely lawyer.

The end credits roll with ugly statistics of acid attacks. There is no closure. But ‘Chhapaak’ is a beginning for sure.

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