After a smashing debut with Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, Deepika Padukone has carved her path to become one of the leading actresses in Bollywood. Post the huge success of Padmaavat, actress is back after a hiatus with some exciting news for fans. Deepika will be seen collaborating with Meghna Gulzar in her next.
Meghna Gulzar earlier directed critically as well as commercially movies like Talvar and Raazi, for upcoming project she has zeroed in on the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. Now, as per reports in Mumbai Mirror, Deepika will be seen portraying Laxmi on screen.
The real incident of acid attack happened in Delhi during 2005, when Laxmi, who comes from an underprivileged background, waiting at a bus stop. Her 32-year-old assailant was an acquaintance of the family who harboured a one-sided attraction towards her. It turned into a deadly grouse when the teenager spurned the advances of this unlikely suitor.
For two years, the disfigured girl rarely stepped out of her home. But in 2006, she did file a PIL seeking the framing of a new law or an amendment to existing criminal laws like IPC, Indian Evidence Act and CrPC which deal with the offence, making a fervent plea for a total ban on the sale of acid. In 2013, in the wake of the Nirbhaya incident, the Supreme Court ruled in her favour. The Section 326 A in the Indian Penal Code lays down the punishment for acid-throwing. The minimum punishment is 10 years imprisonment which can extend up to life imprisonment with a fine. A separate law to punish offenders in such cases was passed, along with amendment of law on sexual offences.
Today, acid cannot be sold to anyone below 18 years and requires a photo identity card for its purchase. Laxmi is the director of Chhanv Foundation, an NGO dedicated to helping acid attack survivors. She’s opened cafes in Lucknow and Agra managed entirely by these survivors and now goes by the name of Laxmi SAA (Stop Acid Attacks).
Talking to Mumbai Mirror, Meghna stated that, “Using Laxmi’s story as a lens, we are attempting to explore these aspects and the consequences of acid-related violence in our society. This’s what makes this must-told story relevant. Awareness is the first step towards change,” asserts Meghna, pointing out that like Talvar, with various narratives intertwined, the film is a gritty, investigative piece, interspersed with a courtroom drama. “If the story is to be summed up in one line, then it’s one of triumph, of an ‘unquashable’ human spirit.”
She further added that, “I was instinctively convinced that Deepika would do justice to the character and the story. Also, her physicality matched with what I’d imagined for Laxmi’s character. I’m grateful and encouraged that she was so spontaneous in her decision to do the film. When you take a face as beautiful as hers and portray her as an acid attack survivor, the magnitude of the violence and damage is that much more resounding,”
Deepika was greatly impacted by story that made her decision to produce the film. She quoted, “The story made such an impact on me that personally and creatively, I needed to go beyond and so the decision to turn producer”, as reported by Mumbai Mirror.
Deepika Padukone has proved her acting skills time and again and by turning producer, actress has added another feather in her cap.