The movie Chhapaak, directed by Meghna Gulzar was released earlier this year in January, in which Deepika Padukone enacted the character of Laxmi Aggarwal, an acid attack survivor. The impulse to watch this movie was consistent since its trailer had come out, but right before its release, news and messages to boycott the movie spread like wildfire. Movies like these are not made very often and in case of Chhapaak, not only is the subject emotionally chilling, but also leaves an impression on the audience and makes us question the way we see life.
It was perceived to be impactful, but unfortunately, before it could even bring any impact, it was caught in the war of hashtags on social media. Amidst the political turmoil, social media is in full swing and often, it seems to be swinging more towards creating problems than solving them. These activities not only occupy our mind, but also leave the main subject behind while we become engaged in forming an opinion of being pro or anti-anything. It is as simple as deciding on watching a movie.
The purpose behind the making of the movie got blurred in the online war. The movie is important for addressing two major aspects: first, trying to bring these crimes and their consequences on the life of the survivors to light, and second, trying to identify the standard of beauty that we are accustomed to appreciating.
It was necessary to narrate the story of Laxmi, whose fight and undying courage made the court bring amendments in the law. The struggle and the level of pain, both physically and mentally, that the survivors go through is beyond our perception. Yet, we need to understand it because these crimes are still prevalent in India. Despite the court’s order to regularise the sale of the acid, it is still not complied to properly. It is almost as easy to purchase acid as it was before.
A majority of these crimes are against women, be it because they rejected someone or chose the way they want to lead their lives. Not only should the attackers be given the strictest of punishments for taking the life of another person in their hands, but it is also time to regulate the sale and distribution of acid.
This is just one side of the battle that we should support and indeed participate in. But there is another thing that we need to understand deeply. We have been taught to give more importance to the face, and a woman’s face is considered as her pride. We should be taking care of our whole self, our body, mind, and also our face. But women are required to look beautiful in order to be accepted in society. Beauty cannot be visible in the facial symmetry unless it exists within.
It is due to the way we see beauty that acid attack survivors have to hide and limit their life behind four walls. We have made our perception too shallow to allow them to open up in society. Very few of them gather the courage to walk openly. It is we who need to accept them and make them feel that they are still part of the community.
At this point in time, we must come out of our habit of looking at people and judging them by their looks. It is time that we become more accepting of these survivors and allow them to lead their lives as per their wish. It is time that we don’t allow the dreams and hopes of people to be shattered in a splash, and don’t let the words of this song stand true for anyone that says “Chhapaak Se Koi Pehchan Le Gaya”.