Two days after Deepika Padukone broke ranks with Bollywood and made a sensational appearance in support of the brutalized students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, her latest film Chhapaak was previewed warmly by critics ahead of its release on Friday.
The latter included some unconventional film enthusiasts. Such as the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, who gave the film tax-free status in their states.
“The movie gives a positive message to society about women who are acid attack survivors, by portraying their story of pain, confidence, struggle, hope and passion, and to bringing about a change in the society's thinking in such cases," Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath said on Twitter, while announcing the tax break.
More conventional critics were just as effusive. Chhapaak is based on the true story of an acid attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal and the trials and tribulations she went through. Here’s what veteran film said:
In his signature-style one-word review on Twitter, film critic and trade analyst Taran Adrash said, “Powerful”. He rated the film 3.5 and added, “Some stories should be told. Some issues must be addressed... Gut-wrenching, yet empowering... Aces: Sensitive writing. Skilled direction. Masterful performances... Take a bow, Deepika and MeghnaGulzar.”
Sreeparna Sengupta called Chhapaak "a brave story of a woman’s grit and indomitable spirit" and Monika Rawal Kukreja said Deepika Padukone is stellar in the impactful film.
Actor-turned-critic Kamaal R Khan, however, said it is a classical multiplex movie, enjoyable only to urban audiences: “Chappak Report is out. It’s a film for highly educated audience of high end multiplexes. It has nothing to do with normal audiences because it’s minus entertainment. Means it will get lots of awards but not cash at the box office!”
Another critic, Anna MM Vetticad was a bit lukewarm too: “Deepika Padukone's acid attack saga has its moments, but not enough.”
The reviews come in the context of Deepika's presence the JNU protest campus on Tuesday. The appearance triggered a polarized debate on Twitter with pro and anti hashtags. While some called for a boycott of the film, there were some that urged people to go and see the film. One such exhortation came from the chief minister of Congress-ruled state of Chhattisgarh. Announcing tax-free status to the film, Bhupesh Baghel said, “You all should go to watch the movie along with your families and become aware, as well as spread the awareness."...