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Chhapaak Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Deepika Padukone's Physicality Matches Laxmi Agarwal's’

Chhapaak filmmaker Meghna Gulzar UP AND EXCLUSIVE about the film, her meetings and experiences with acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, casting Deepika Padukone for the part and lots more

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Chhapaak Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar, EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: ‘Deepika Padukone's Physicality Matches Laxmi Agarwal's’
Earlier, we had spoken to Meghna Gulzar over the phone and it’s always different when you meet someone in person and talk to them. So, it was even more endearing as I sat down for an interview with the Chhapaak filmmaker.

From a Talvar in 2015 to a Raazi in 2018, the director has only gotten more stronger and better with her subjects. The expectations are naturally high from Meghna who comes from a richly talented family. So ahead of her forthcoming release Chhapaak, we ask if she’s a bundle of nerves and the lady agrees. “I'm anxious before every film. I think that's the trait of a filmmaker,” are her words.

We were guessing if she’s shown the film already to her parents- veteran lyricist Gulzar and actress Rakhee. Meghna said, “Not yet. My mother doesn't want to see anything that's work in progress. She wants to see something when it's ready. Dad has seen the offline final edit though.” WATCH VIDEO BELOW:

Then, she went about discussing how the subject of Chhapaak came into play. “Me and my co-writer Atika Chauhan wrote the script of Chhapaak, right after Talvar. I was in that space where I took just a year to write and collaborate on 2-3 scripts. I came across this recurring reportage of acid attacks. I thought why is it not being spoken about? So I said, let's go down this road. And the minute you research into acid violence, the first case that comes to you is of Laxmi Agarwal because hers is a landmark case for several reasons. So using her case as an anchor was an idea that crystallised back in 2016.”


Furthermore, Meghna revealed that the film was earlier titled Gandhak “which is the Hindi word for sulphuric acid but it’s not a very lyrical word. Chhapaak came to my mind because it has a lyrical quality, a softness to it because it’s the splash of liquid. But the irony happens when the liquid becomes acid. That splash becomes deadly. I loved the connotation and the title.”

We were keen to know when did she meet Laxmi Agarwal, the acid attack survivor on who’s life the story is based. Said Meghna, “I met her in 2016. It took a while to win her trust. But eventually, we became friends.” So did Laxmi know that Deepika was to essay her role? Meghna replied, “Wanting Deepika in this part was a silent wish. Right from the beginning of the script, me and Atika had Deepika in mind but we weren't sure if she would agree. However, my gut said let's try once.”


Knowing that Alia was fab in Raazi, we wanted to know if Meghna ever thought of approaching Alia again for this film, to which the filmmaker said, “For me, the physicality of the actor has to suit the character. And if you see Laxmi, the resemblance of her to Deepika is tremendous. So, for me, that's the starting point of any actor's name popping in my mind.”

And what was Laxmi’s reaction when she discovered that Deepika is playing her on screen? “Laxmi was thrilled when she discovered that it's Deepika.”


Next, Meghna spoke in detail about the prosthetics part. “What was beautiful about Deepika was that she submitted herself to the process completely. For a person who is already claustrophobic, it’s a nightmare to go through this process. Not a moment of hesitation. There were days which were emotionally taxing for Deepika. Instead of retreating, she used it as her strength.”

While Deepika’s is the central character, Vikrant Massey’s character acts as her strength in the film and Meghna was all praises for Vikrant who she feels “fit the part beautifully.”


Next, she took us through some of her favourite shots and finally, spoke about her upcoming projects.

Image Source:- freepressjournal/spotboyeteam
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