Thappad Story: Amrita’s (Taapsee Pannu) world comes crumbling down when her fiercely ambitious husband, Vikram (Pavail Gulati), lands a mighty slap across her face at a party that was supposed to celebrate his success in the corporate world. Will Amrita, whose life so far has revolved around Vikram’s needs, wants, and dreams, stand up and speak up against this humiliation in public? Or will she brush it off as a one-off incident, forgive him and move on? Or will this shake up her own beliefs about life and marriage?
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Director: Anubhav Sinha
- Taapsee Pannu
- Pavail Gulati
- Ratna Pathak Shah
- Kumud mishra
- Maya Sarao
- Tanvi Azmi
- Geetika Vidya Ohlyan
- Manav kaul
Box office: est. ₹44.54 crore
Budget: ₹20 crore
Duration: 2 hours 21 minutes
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Amrita (Taapsee Pannu) is seemingly happily married to Vikram (Pavail Gulati). You see her taking care of him from the first shot itself — she makes breakfast for him, files his important papers, gives him coffee to drink on the way and even brings him bed tea. She monitors her mother-in-law’s (Tanvi Azmi) sugar levels as well, making sure she takes her medicines on time. She’s the Adarsh bahu you can dream of. It all shatters one day when during a house party, frustrated by the hindrance put in the way of a lucrative London posting, he slaps his wife when she’s trying to stop him from getting physical with a senior. She begins to understand the cracks in her relationship and realizes she doesn’t love him anymore. The slap sort of triggers a journey of self-awareness, and she decides to divorce him and seek a separate existence.
Almost everyone, be it her own mother (Ratna Pathak Shah), her mother-in-law, even her lawyer (Maya Sarao) wants her to forget the humiliation and move on. They tell her that marriage is nothing but compromise and it’s always the women who have to compromise. It’s not that she doesn’t find support. It comes in the form of her sensitive neighbor (Dia Mirza) and her brother’s girlfriend (Naila Grewal). Her biggest supporter is her understanding father (Kumud Mishra) who is her pillar of strength throughout. Through him, director Anubhav Sinha is trying to say that men have to try to make a difference in their world views regarding women. The scene where he reprimands his son for misbehaving with his girlfriend makes you want to clap.
The film points out that women have been conditioned for generations so long to support wrong practices for the sake of domestic peace. A prime example is Amrita’s maid (Geetika Vidya Ohlyan), who regularly gets beaten by her husband but takes it as a matter of course. Amrita and her mother-in-law too are kind of okay with it and don’t even advise her to do something about it, or to leave her abusive husband. Her mother’s first reaction to Amrita’s decision to fight back is that her marriage would be broken. Her mother-in-law is more concerned about what the society would say than with the well-being of her daughter-in-law. The lawyer too has made enough compromises in her own life and finds it farcical to advise Amrita to fight for her principles.
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It makes a case for the fact that even the smallest act of domestic violence is an offense. That one shouldn’t wait for things to escalate to retaliate. That nothing is more important than self-respect, which shouldn’t be compromised at any cost. Because you die a little each time you do so. The film doesn’t go over the top at any time. It doesn’t go melodramatic. Nor does it opt for a long-drawn court drama. It’s made clear from the start that for Amrita it isn’t a clash of egos but an attempt towards a new beginning. Of finally living a life for herself and on her own terms. She rejects alimony or any sort of maintenance and only wants a clean break. What you see on screen looks and feels real.
The hard-hitting, to the point dialogue, are the life of the film and bring the drama home. The pace, the setting of the film is even. One situation flows into another seamlessly. Nothing looks forced or contrived. It all would have fallen flat if the entire cast hadn’t given it their best. Be it Kumud Mishra, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi, or other actors, each one convinces you that you’re watching real people going through a real crisis. Newbie Pavail Gulati is the embodiment of toxic masculinity. You want to shake him up and make him see sense. Taapsee Pannu is growing as an actor with each passing film. Her silences, her body language say it all. She stays within her character throughout and makes you root for her. She makes you experience the world through Amrita’s eyes makes you understand the importance of her fight
Hat’s off to director Anubhav Sinha for making yet another well-meaning and powerful film asking all the right questions. It’s 2020 and it’s a shame that it has taken this long to say that even one slap shouldn’t be tolerated.
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Hailing from a loving and supportive family in Delhi, and trained in Indian classical dance, Amrita’s life could have taken a different course but she harbored the dream of being the best housewife ever, even if that meant giving up on her passion for dance. Vikram is a go-getter, and has his mind and heart set on his goals and he will do everything in his capacity to achieve it. But, in a moment, he realizes that his big dreams are about to get shattered, blame it on office politics. Vikram does the unthinkable — his pent-up frustration finds an outlet in his committed wife, in the form of a thunderous slap that’s witnessed by loved ones from both sides. And, this sparks the beginning of an ugly, emotional battle which goes beyond domestic violence. While the uncalled for incident makes Amrita delve upon and question her life choices and their marriage, Vikram continues to live in denial and wonders how ‘just one slap’ is turning out to be a life-changing moment.
Anubhav Sinha’s 2 hours and 21 minutes-long social drama, which is made for a society that rarely talks about the emotional and psychological effects of domestic violence, is set to spark debates and discussions on various ground. One stress-fuelled slap at a party takes the form of a full-blown conversation pertaining to the unsaid rules of marriage (where women are constantly reminded ki ghar zyada zaruri hain and that their actions will always be determined by log kya kehenge) and if it is acceptable for a husband to get away with what he considers one ‘casual Thappad Latest Bollywood Movies‘ because he was fuming with anger.
The film takes its own sweet time in expressing the dynamics of Amrita-Vikram’s arranged marriage and how the two of them manage to blend in well with each other’s financially-imbalanced, yet likable, families. Sure, Vikram loves his wife, but he has made a monster out of his career goals, which the better half supports and harbors with all her heart. Even before the conflict arises, you can see an uber happy Taapsee making plans of a ‘big blue door‘ at their future London apartment. Naturally, when the slap happens, her world turns over and even both sides of the family are divided on what is right, what is wrong and how much is too much, and the protocols of marriage in our Indian setting. Irrespective of various views thrown at her, Amrita is fiesty and resolves to channel the inner fighter in her and stands up for what she truly believes in — that even one slap is outrageous and not okay.
” Thppda‘ is not just a film aimlessly ranting about borderline domestic violence; it brings to light the years of conditioning that a woman is subjected to by her own family and the society that she lives in. Other than the aforementioned couple, there are other women in focus, too — one who is bearing the brunt of a family’s name and legacy, one hung up on the idea that marriage is the ultimate destination, one coming from the poorer section of the society who is compelled to believe that getting thrashed by the husband is the norm, and one who has loved and lost a fine husband and is now struggling to find a replacement who outdoes the former. Sinha manages to intertwine all these stories and juxtaposition them with one another at the right junctions, without being too in-your-face about it. The subtly works beautifully, as the stark contrast in their lives unfold.
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Taapsee, as the submissive wife, who suddenly undergoes an ocean of change within her, is a firecracker of a performer in this drama. In one scene, where she bids goodbye to a crucial character, Taapsee delivers a speech that is cathartic to its very core. Her portrayal is restrained but at the same time, in every scene she exposes a gamut of emotions — pain, disgust, regret, and rage — without saying too much. If that is not a stupendous performance, we don’t know what is. Pavail Gulati, as the determined corporate-slave with very intense life goals, pulls off a brilliant performance. You will want to hate him for his flaws, but his character is no less complex than the rest of them. Kumud Mishra stands out as Amrita’s father — an ardent supporter of his daughter — and at most times, he is the only one who sticks up for her. Mishra’s character reinstates why for a lot of daughters their father is their hero. Tanvi Azmi and Ratna Pathak Shah, as Amrita’s mother-in-law and mother respectively, play their roles to a T — that of being the torchbearers of matriarchal mentality and trying to instill the same in the women of the house. However, Maya Sarao, who plays the high-profile lawyer Nethra Jaisingh, is the weakest link in the film. Not that she is bad, but others are so good that she gets overshadowed by some real power-packed performances.
The music of the film (by Anurag Saikia) is beautifully melancholic in tone and blends in with the narrative. It is safe to say that Anubhav Sinha has rendered his career-best in this strong-worded social drama. He deserves an applause for the depth-handling of the various characters in the film, their greys, complexities, dilemmas without ever getting too loud, overbearing or trying too hard to make a statement. Yet, the film drives home a solid point and leaves you with enough to ponder upon. The fine and nuanced writing, by Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo, deserves a special mention as that is what makes the film notches higher.
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