Courage is not A virtue, but The virtue.
Most storytellers entertain, a few enlighten. A scattering number of celluloid visionaries entertain as well as enlighten. Meghna Gulzar fits into that exceptional variety of film-makers that opens up thought-processes about the condition of the homeland without losing the cinematic elements that constitute a film. Meghna Gulzar has always believed in handling an issue every time She has attempted a film. To reconstruct on celluloid a true occurrence that is oven-fresh in public reminiscence is not a trouble-free mission. However, having sensitive and explosive material on hand is not enough. The execution of the subject is of paramount importance. Fortunately, Meghna Gulzar interprets the events in remarkable style and form and makes it a cinematic experience that haunts you even after the film has concluded. She does complete justice to the spirit of the story.
Chhapaak manages to show a mirror to the society. It is a rare film that will make you cry but at the same time scaffold you with strength to raise your voice against injustice and why one must never compromise on self-respect. As a movie-watching experience, Chhapaak is flawless. There's absolutely no compromise at the level of storytelling. Bravo! Meghna Gulzar makes it an engaging piece of cinema rather than relying on the docu-drama format. Chhapaak belongs to the unique hard-hitting, gut-wrenching genre of cinema. Script-wise, the director has tried to remain faithful to the episode that occurred and also what transpired subsequently. The events have been chronologically put forth and the daring story of Malti hits you like a ton of bricks. The film truly celebrates the human spirit and also reflects a vital change in the society and in the attitudes of people.
The narration is simply captivating that the viewer thirsts for more. Such is the impact of its taut screenplay! The film abounds in sequences that have been handled with utmost care, notable among those that focus on the relationship between Deepika Padukone and Vikrant Massey. The dramatic scenes are just right and not once does any character get loud or go overboard. The emotional scenes are a treat to watch. Another highlight is the climax. A film like Chhapaak pricks your conscience and makes you think.
Director Meghna Gulzar and story writer Atika Chohan deserve kudos for choosing a thorny and contentious story to interpret on celluloid. Meghna Gulzar, in particular, deserves a few extra brownie points for handling the material with aplomb. Her prowess and competence are visible all through the film. Since Chhapaak is based on a real story, Meghna Gulzar has kept the characters and the locations real and that's what makes the goings-on very identifiable, besides bestowing an authentic feel to the film. Here's a dynamic director-writer duo who needs to be lauded for tackling such a difficult subject and emerging triumphant!
A hard-hitting drama, generally, doesn't have scope for music. But Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy join hands with Gulzar saab, the wordsmith, and together they deliver a solid soundtrack. Music has been used in a matter-of-fact manner and at no point, it takes anything away from the narrative or the pace of the film. Malay Prakash' cinematography is first-rate. Dialogues are realistic to the core. Nitin Baid’s editing is perfect.
It would be a blunder if one missed out the contribution of the makeup artists. Transforming the ever-dependable actress into an acid attack survivor must've been an arduous task and Shrikant Desai and Clover Wootton deserve to be complimented for making Malti look so real.
Meghna Gulzar places immense trust on Deepika Padukone and she delivers a powerhouse performance. It is difficult to think of any other actress who could've essayed this complex role with such sincerity as Deepika. A powerhouse of talent, Chhapaak is yet another effort on the part of the actress to showcase the talent she possesses. To state that she is exceptional would be an understatement. Here's yet another award-winning performance from her. Another actor who delivers a first-rate performance is Vikrant Massey. He sinks his teeth into the character, giving it the much-required pragmatism that it necessitates. Sure, Chhapaak belongs to Deepika, but not once does Vikrant Massey dither from his position or seems inferior. This is the hallmark of a tremendous actor, which Vikrant is. Madhurjeet Sarghi is first-rate and lends adequate support.
A lot of films have been attempted on real-life incidents, but haven't struck a chord so effectively. Chhapaak should shatter this jinx. It focuses the viewer's attention to that segment of society that has seldom been depicted on the Indian screen. It will be well appreciated by the intelligent audience who are gunning for women safety and empowerment. This heroic and daring film truly deserves prolonged applause.