Meghna Gulzar is a keen observer and has developed a taste for the real cinema. She pens down those stories which she believes will leave an impact in any form.
Her choice for slightly unconventional and non-fictional cinema stems out from her need to be immaculate and pay extra attention to the minutest detail. Meghna’s last two films Talvar and Raazi proved to be back to back hits at the box office.
One such tale that drew Meghna's attention was the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. It was traumatic and inspiring for her on various levels. The Deepika starrer thy is set to release on 10th Jan will be releasing the trailer on December 10th.
World Human Rights Day is celebrated globally every year on December 10. People celebrate cinema on this day to sensitize and inspire them and instill in them virtues and humanitarian ethics.
Launching the trailer on this date is a sheer stroke of serendipity and for Meghna, couldn't have asked for a better date. Sharing her thoughts on the significance of the date, Meghna averred, "It is actually a nice coincidence that our trailer is getting launched on the 10th of December, which also happens to be – Human Rights Day.
Chhapaak is a story of acid violence. The basic act of acid violence violates the human rights of the person who is attacked by acid and their life, their physicality is changed forever. So I really couldn't have asked for better synchronicity for the release date of our film. So that's why the date of the trailer release is extremely significant.
That actually was not the starting thought, we were just working backward from our release date, but now that this has happened is almost like a higher-order alignment playing out and I am actually very grateful for that."
On sharing her views about her journey as a director in Chhapaak, Meghna exuded, "My journey as a director on the sets of this film has been an extremely fulfilling one. It's been difficult, it has been a difficult film to make both logistically and emotionally, more so for the team and for Deepika, who had to go through a lot of strenuous stuff both emotionally and physically.
But at the end of the day when you look at the film that has come together, at least for me and I am sure I can speak on behalf of the team that there is an immense sense of contentment and satisfaction, that this was an important story to tell and we are glad that we got the opportunity to tell it."
As a director, the sole purpose is to keep the story relevant and realistic without falsifying the facts. The pressure to adhere to the guidelines and project all the aspects of the story including the untapped ones is what makes Meghna an ace director. She gave her heart and soul to keep the story as real as possible and Deepika turned out to be her major support.
Known for her beauty and grace, projecting Deepika as an acid attack victim was challenging but not impossible. Agreeing to this, Meghna shares, "The story of Laxmi – yes it's known and see the thing is when you are telling a true-life story, most of it will be known. Everybody will know something about it, some people will know everything about it but not everybody will know everything about it and that's where you make that journey from it being just a newspaper article to being a film without distorting the facts, without overstating the reality at least that's my sensibility and yet make it an engaging and immersive experience for the audience because if you are picking a story, there is obviously a reason, you want the audience to connect with it and so then you use all the crafts that are at your disposal.
As a filmmaker whether it's the story, the script, the cinematography, the production design, the costume design, the sound, the music, the background, the songs you use all those crafts to tell the story as best as you possibly can." Having said that, Meghna added "I don't think it's going to be difficult to make people believe that this is Deepika who is known for beauty and grace to be the same person who is playing Malti in the film. Yes, I am sure there will be a lot of double-takes, where there will be a moment of Huh that's Deepika, really that's Deepika, but then that's the engagement that I am looking for from the audience so that I am hoping will be a good thing actually."
Meghna feels that the versatility and craft that Deepika displays on screen is remarkable. She will bring the right balance emotionally and physically and will strike a chord with the audience like no other. Hence without Deepika, Meghna would not have helmed the project and even though Deepika could have said no, she couldn't deny because of the connection she felt with Laxmi’s story.
Adding more to it, Meghna said, " Yes, for me Deepika was the absolute right fit for this role. First for her physicality – I have said this before there's an uncanny resemblance between her and Laxmi. More so the Laxmi whose pictures I have seen before she was attacked with acid. And secondly as an actor, the craft that Deepika brings onto a film, was very very critical for me in this film because of the kind of performance that was required. Yes, she was looking for a lighter script and if she hadn't done it, I don't think I would have made it because I really – I don't see who else I could have taken to play this part."