The first look of Deepika Padukone starer and Meghna Gulzar directed Chhapaak was released recently creating quite a ripple among the moviegoers. Incidentally, the movie is based on the life of the acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Deepika plays the leading role of Laxmi in the movie.
Laxmi Agarwal’s Story Is Saga Of Trauma And Courage
The complete prosthetic makeup of Deepika in the image she has shared shows scars and burns on her face. It is just makeup for Deepika, but Laxmi Agarwal has been living with that face and pain for so many years.
Chhapaak is going to throw light on her life, her trauma and the way she overcame all such hurdles in life and became an acid attack crusader. Laxmi Agarwal is one of the high-profile crusaders against acid attacks. At the age of 15, a man twice her age threw an acid-filled beer bottle at her for not responding to his advances.
According to Laxmi immediately after the attack, she was admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and she underwent treatment for almost 3 months. When she saw her face for the first time Laxmi was devastated. Her face was totally distorted and eyes were misshapen. She underwent multiple surgeries after that but the scars on her face as well as on her mind did not go away for a long time.
But the incidence motivated Laxmi to start an extensive campaign against the sale of acid in the country. As a part of the campaign affordable treatment was offered to the acid attack survivors.
Laxmi’s Efforts Brought Restrictions On Sale Of Acid
Together with her father, Laxmi Agarwal filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court in 2006 after a year from the attack. Another acid attack survivor Rupa also supported Laxmi in this effort. Through this petition, they requested a new amendment or law to the existing provisions in the Indian Evidence Act, Indian Penal Code, and the Criminal Procedure Code.
The intention was to frame rules against the acid attackers and ensure that the survivors were compensated. Through the new amendment, Laxmi Agarwal also asked for banning the sale of acid in the country as innumerable such horrific attacks took place in those days.
On July 2013, the court issued a new restriction on the acid sale including a ban on selling it to minors and making it mandatory to furnish a photo identity prior to buying it.
Despite the new ruling acid was still freely available in shops which is why Laxmi launched a new movement called Shoot Acid. Through this initiative, they are trying to acquire data where the acid is sold freely in every district. Laxmi intends to present this data to the Supreme Court.
The Bitter-Sweet Moments In Laxmi’s Life
In March 2014, Laxmi Agarwal won the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award at the hands of First Lady Michelle Obama. However, she lost her father to a heart attack and brother to tuberculosis.
It was also the year when she met a journalist and founder of Stop Acid Attack Campaign, Alok Dixit. They fell in love and decided to live-in-together. During the same time, she co-founded Chhanv Foundation, a non-profit organization with Dixit. The couple’s daughter Pihu was born on March 25, 2015, after which the couple separated due to personal differences.
Laxmi was short of money and with the custody of Pihu and Dixit citing the inability to provide monetary support the problems escalated further. Even though Laxmi is a trained beautician due to her disfigured face no one was ready to offer her a job. All the award money and compensation went into her multiple corrective surgeries and pregnancy.
However, when the news about her condition became public, assistance and aid started pouring in with a hair and makeup academy offering her a job and showing a willingness to fund the education of her daughter.
Deepika Was Deeply Moved By Laxmi’s Story
After undergoing all these struggles, Laxmi Agarwal was on cloud nine when she heard that Bollywood’s Queen Deepika Padukone is going to produce and star in Meghna Gulzar’s movie based on her life.
According to Deepika, “When I heard this story, I was deeply moved as it’s not just one of violence but of strength and courage, hope and victory. It made such an impact on me, that personally and creatively, I needed to go beyond and so the decision to turn producer.”
Laxmi’s life has suddenly undergone a massive change with job offers and financial aid coming from big movie stars like Akshay Kumar.
The shooting of Chhapaak has already commenced and will be released on January 10, 2020. Prior to the release of the first look of Chhapaak, Meghna stated, “You won’t be seeing Deepika, you know. You will be seeing a disfigured Deepika, There is an uncanny similarity between the survivor and Deepika.”
While speaking about Deepika being the leading lady of the biopic made on her life, Laxmi said, ”I am so happy that Deepika is playing the role. I have no right to judge her. How can I judge someone for something which I can’t do? She has played wonderful characters on screen and I believe she will give her best.”