It’s been a week since its release, and with a ‘4 point something’ IMDB rating and Box Office collections that barely covers the budget, her highly anticipated release of 2020, is a declared flop.
The actress, along with the team of Chhapaak experimented with many unique promotional tactics to attract the audience. One of the riskiest stunts she employed was perhaps showing up at the JNU, which didn’t prove to be conducive for the film’s fate in the later days.
The actress has not given up on her movie yet and is still working tirelessly to promote it to potential viewers. What is worrisome is that she is also working mindlessly to sell this movie.
In a viral video, she was seen challenging Tik-Tok fame makeup artist, Faby, to re-create three of her favorite “looks” from her own movies. The Chhapaak actress enlisted the retro look from her debut Om Shanti Om, the one from Piku, and then the one from Chhapaak. Let this sink in: The misery of Laxmi Agarwal and that of thousands like her is a ‘look’ for this actress.
The melted face of Laxmi whom you essayed as Malti is not a ‘look’. It is the brutal reminiscent of a barbaric attack she was faced with when she was still a minor. Lying on the road, she felt as the excruciating burn tore her flesh away. Within minutes she was turned into someone she couldn’t recognize in the mirror. This deformity, the shrieks and the tears don’t constitute a ‘look’.
A 16-year-old lost her face before her beauty could bloom into its fullest. Her entire identity was disfigured, all dreams, aspirations, ambitions robbed in a blink of an eye. This robbed identity is not a ‘look’.
Laxmi Agarwal is a trained beautician, but no one employs her. She was asked to vacate the apartment she had rented out. Even a call-center, where employees have no face-to-face interaction with customers, refused to employ her. All because of the ‘look’.
Her life-long struggle is not as meager as the brown red lipstick you slithered on for your JNU visit, switched up with Ruby Red for another promotional appearance and wiped off at the end of the day. You fans are outraged at the audacity with which you reduce Malti’s struggles to a ‘look’.
The audience refused to connect with Malti, because you, the actress who was trusted to bring her to life on the 70 MM, misprized her as a slap of prosthetics to be taken off post-shoot. You were inept of fathoming the severity of this cruel situation that shackles the Laxmis of this world for life. Hence, for a tone-deaf Bollywood A-lister, the disfigured face of Malti, a screaming reminder of the lows our society has plummeted to, couldn’t be more than a ‘look’.
Though you won the Twitter hashtag war, those thousands of #ISupportDeepika Hashtags didn’t convert into crores of sales. This should prove that the virtual world limited to Twitter and Instagram is not the mirror of the real world that breaths, moves, and thrives beyond a login ID and password.
This is exactly the reason Chhapaak’s poor box-office performance couldn’t be accredited to some #BoycottChhapaak hashtag. The Meghna Gulzar directorial was a poorly made film, and that is the sole reason it tanked. It was a highly sensitive subject that carried the potential of being crafted into a soul-piercing tearjerker and keep the audience glued to their seats. Gulzar failed at treating Laxmi’s story with the compassion it deserved and was incapable of extracting ‘Malti’ out of the larger-than-life Deepika Padukone who couldn’t comprehend the character beneath the‘look’ .