Romanticizing violence in a relationship is common in Bollywood movies. Is it moral? No, it certainly is not okay and could have legal percussions. But do people love watching violent love stories? Sure, Kabir Singh’s popularity is proof of that! Does the success of violent romantic stories reflect the society we live in? A simple browse through a relevant newspaper would tell you how often women are abused physically and sexually across the country. Even as India falls behind on the global gender equality index, filmmakers refuse to accept the role they play in changing the attitude of people towards gender-related violence. Thappad, directed by Anubhav Sinha, is one of the few movies which dares to take a stand.
Thappad is the story of Amrita, who decides to divorce her husband after he slaps her. The common reactions to this premise are – “Divorce over a slap?” – or, as the film’s tagline goes – “Bas itni si baat?” But for Amrita, the thappad marked the beginning of a relationship that she wasn’t willing to explore. Of course, she faces resistance from her husband, his family, her family, and society, in general, which always has an opinion over individuals’ personal matters. But Amrita stays resilient and finally finds support in her lawyer. The second part of the story focuses on the trial, in which her husband’s lawyer tries to deny the occurrence of the assault in addition to maligning her image. How things pan out for Amrita and whether her actions inspire other women to take a stand for themselves remains to be seen.
Thappad is directed by Anubhav Sinha, who is the man behind critically acclaimed movies like Mulk and Article 15. His movies show a pattern of support for India’s minorities, be it Muslims, Dalits, and now, women. While his former movies have been criticized for having a majoritarian savior, Thappad is a fight for women by women. The lead role is played by Taapsee Pannu, who once again is seen embroiled in a court case for justice. The actress has established herself as a bankable star in Bollywood for playing progressive characters and she is the perfect pick for the role of Amrita. In her husband’s role, we have Pavail Gulati, who has appeared on Netflix’s Ghost Stories and Amazon Prime’s Made in Heaven. Popular actors like Kumud Mishra, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi, and Ram Kapoor make up the supporting cast.
The release of Thappad’s trailer created a storm on online film circuits as it once again props up the Kabir Singh debate as to whether violence in relationships is okay. Anubhav Sinha and Taapsee Pannu are finally steering the conversation in the right direction and only time will tell whether Thappad manages to make an impact. The film is currently slated for a solo release on the 28th of February, 2020. Read our film review here.