Deepika Padukone is all set to essay the life of acid attack survivor/activist Laxmi Agarwal in Meghna Gulzar’s, Chhapaak. Read on to know more about her role…
The internet cannot get over Deepika Padukone’s drastic transformation as an acid attack survivor Malti (based on the life of Laxmi Agarwal) from the first look of Chhapaak and as rightly so. After all, she seems to have pushed the boundaries to such a greater extent not just in terms of the prosthetics but also the eyes that emote so beautifully and powerfully. It’s like you can see the pain, sadness but equally also see a ray of hope twinkling in that intense gaze. Indeed, Chhapaak looks like a film that’s need of the hour and Deepika is doing everything to make a strong impact on the minds of the people.
For those unaware about the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, here’s a quick lowdown on all the struggles she’s faced and how she’s challenged life despite being trashed, again and again…From being attacked with acid, to being abandoned by her live-in partner, to staying without work for a year to struggling to provide for her little daughter, Laxmi has come a long way…
Born to a middle-class family in Delhi, Laxmi’s life was like any other teenager growing up in the city. However, it all changed one day in 2005. On her way to a book shop near Khan Market where Laxmi was working as an assistant, a long-time stalker and a man twice her age, threw a beer bottle loaded with acid on her for rejecting his advances. And ever since this horrific incident, she’s had to undergo multiple surgeries, but more critically, overcome the psychological scars that have come with it.
Laxmi then decided to carry out an extensive campaign against the sale of acid in India and offering affordable treatment to survivors. She credits her father for inspiring her to file a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court a year after the attack alongside another survivor Rupa. The petition was seeking the passage of a new law or amendments to the existing provisions in the Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code to deal with acid attacks, besides framing of rules for compensation to survivors. She also sought a complete ban on the sale of acid across the country citing the number of such horrific attacks.
In July 2013, she won her battle in court for the most part when the court issued a set of new restrictions on the sale of acid, which includes a ban on sale to minors and furnishing a photo identity card before buying it, among other such restrictions.
Then came 2014, which was a bittersweet year for Laxmi. Earlier that year, in March, she had won the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2014, with the then First Lady Michelle Obama presenting it to her, but the high of the award was followed by tragedy—she lost her brother to tuberculosis and father to a heart attack. This was also the year when she met Alok Dixit a journalist and the founder of the Stop Acid Attack campaign. The two fell in love but instead of getting married, the couple decided to live-in together, challenging the society for their judgmental attitude of judging a bride by her looks. Their child, Pihu, was born on March 25, 2015.
But unfortunately, her happiness was shortlived as this is where her life yet again went downhill. Soon after their daughter was born, the couple separated due to personal differences. Although Laxmi had custody of the child, her income streams started drying up and the cost of raising Pihu took a toll. Salary from the non-profits stopped once she left them on account of differences with Dixit who didn’t do much to support Laxmi and her child, citing the lack of money.
Fortunately, when news of her plight became public, aid and assistance came from all over and today, celebrities, activisits from across the nation are in awe of her strength and courage and are doing everything to support her.
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#Repost @vishaldadlani (@get_repost) ・・・ At Dubai airport, on my way home late last night, I met this icon of strength and dignity. @thelaxmiagarwal, more power to you for helping acid-attack victims reintegrate into society. I hope that one day society will realise that it's the perpetrators that deserve to be stigmatized, not the victims. Even more than that, I hope acid-attacks stop happening altogether. #shero Kaafi Acha laga apse milkar 🤗
When Laxmi was asked about Deepika playing her role in Meghna Gulzar’s next, she spoke to Hindustan Times saying, “I believe art is art. I am so happy that Deepika is playing the role. I have no right to judge her. How can I judge someone for something which I can’t do. She has played wonderful characters on screen and I believe she will give her best. I want to thank Deepika ji, Meghna ji and the entire team who will be working together on the film. I am glad that the movie will spread awareness and will help people who are victims of such incidents to come out of it. They will get inspired that if she can do it than why not us.”
How eagerly are you waiting to see Deepika Padukone and Meghna Gulzar bring this awe-inspiring story on the big screen with Chhapaak on January 10, 2020? Tweet your thoughts to us @zoomtv and do come back to this space for more updates.