Revolving around the life of an acid-attack survivor Malti (Deepika Padukone), the story covers 13 years of her life. From the 12th grade when the incident happened to the hearing of her court case, we see the ups & downs of her life. It starts with Malti lookout for a job and bumping into Amol (Vikrant Massey). Amol runs an NGO named Chaaya who helps the acid-attack survivors.
Malti unites him in this cause and goes through the traces of her journey through the other survivors. She also gathers the courage of fighting for the PIL (Publish Interest Litigation) helmed by her for banning the open sale of acid. It’s all about what all she goes through with the fact that few drops of acid can’t take everything from her.
Out of her two brilliant movies (Talvar, Raazi) before this Meghna hasn’t written any one of them solely. Talvar was Vishal Bhardwaj & Raazi’s story was from Harinder Sikka’s Calling Sehmat. Even in Chhapaak, she gets Atika Chohan (Margarita With A Straw, Waiting) on-board to help with the story & dialogues. She lays the base accurately managing the pace & is pretty successful till the first half. My immediate thought at the intermission point was – “Mostly everything is accomplished, what now?”
There are genuinely chilling moments that will force you to adjust your position. An interviewer ignoring to have food in front of Malti, someone labelling her ‘disabled’ & more such moments disturbs the human in you. I majorly have four problems with the script – sluggish courtroom sequences, Malti’s family was totally out of the focus, with the strong story comes the need for a strong climax & romantic angle works partially.
The character of Malti & the prosthetics required an actor who can normalise its complex traits. Deepika Padukone hits those levels at certain points. Meghna banks on her smile to lit up the screen & she’s pretty successful at it. Deepika successfully attains a huge task to maintain the balance between displaying the emotions and let her face do the talking.
Vikrant Massey gets a very half-baked character. He genuinely tries to fit in the story, but there’s no solid substance he could add during the major chunk of his screen-space. From the supporting cast, Madhurjeet Sarghi who plays the lawyer is phenomenal at what she does. Ipshita Chakraborty is brilliant in her cameo.
Chhapaak makes a bold statement exposing the lenient punishment for the heinous crime of acid-attack. It manages to display the pain but defocuses attention through the journey of recovery. It stretches the disturbance!