So, I watched Thappad on Sunday. It took me a day to write something about it.
Why? Because it hit me too close to home…. far too close to home.
The woman who has lost her equilibrium after facing a demeaning slap from her significant other.. a woman who loses her respect and her love, not just as an outcome of the slap but as an outcome of…
The genuine apology that never came..
The airbrushing that came after, the one that screamed ‘normal’ as if nothing happened..
The constant ‘me before you’ that had never ever been more apparent..
The ‘oh, you are so repleaceable’ that had never ever been more evident..
The ‘chotisi baat ka batangad kyu bana rahi ho’ that came in from all quarters..
The ‘I work at an MNC, bohot stress hai’, so you obviously wouldn’t understand and worse, everything about you must obviously take the back seat.
The ‘chalo mujhe maar lo aur baat barabar karlo’ ridiculousness that prohibited any further chance of understanding…
That ‘pehli baar to hua yaar’ that tried to make all your feelings so inconsequential and worse, petulant..
That ‘chalo tumne point prove kar liya ab ghar chalo’ that aimed to disqualify the very basis behind your behavior…
So on and so forth…
Everyday abuse, not necessarily physical… so yes, the movie hits way too close to home.
Should you watch it? Not if you hate slow movies and especially hate movies on female emotions. Not if you are only watching to find the male suffering in the ‘hostile’ female-centric territory. Trust me, you’re better off watching Netflix at home.
If you are a human with a good level of EQ and are open to plots that showcase something deeper than ‘ye feminists din raat abuse abuse rote rehte hai yaar’, then you should watch it… you most definitely should watch it.
The film, though slow, shows a beautiful, subtle story of emotions and actions. Emotions that pile on and on, and actions that require a big leap of self-belief on knowing when one has had enough. Each and every character, however small, shows a believable character growth graph, which is rare and hence also very beautiful to see. A lot is said in dialogs, but a lot more is said while being unsaid… and it is these unsaid dialogs that hit you harder.
While the central theme is obviously the thappad and its aftermath, the movie does not fail to capture everyday sexism either… such as the evergreen ‘ye log gaadiya leke nikalte kyu hai yaar’ and ‘phir ek nayi car, woh kaam kya karti hai’..
The best four things about the movie IMO
– Ram Kapoor… the no nonsense, straighttalking lawyer who has very few scruples but still doesn’t balk from shooting it straight and square when the guilty party starts getting a little too complacent regarding itna bada to kuch hua hi nahi. He knows the law and the legalities even when he is out to support his client, and his, ‘nahi, galti to thi, and be prepared, the police have the authority to arrest you’ is the simplest of statements that makes the crime all too real.
– The mum and the mum-in-law both of which are consciously aware of right and wrong yet beautifully blind due to societal and cultural upbringing for the former and the love for a son in the case of the latter. For those who like to read between the lines, this dynamic is one that really plays on your psyche, long after you have left the theater..
– The father. The pillar of strength for any and every girl out there, the father here is the quintessential ‘I will stand with my daughter, no matter what’ home that every daughter needs and deserves. His one liners and longer gyaan are both hard-hitting and worldly-wise. His pain and stress of what is happening in his daughter’s life is also oh-so-believable, my heart went out to him!
– Dia Mirza and her effortless portrayal of a woman all alone, a woman who lives life on her own terms without compromising what women are inherently more aware of ‘morality’. Her ‘I’d like to believe that men are wonderful people, so I’ll pretend what you just asked of me never happened’ overtakes all other one-liners in the movie. And that’s quite an achievement since the movie is littered with quotable one-liners from start to finish.
Last but not the least, the one avenue the movie fails to adequately capture is the burden of the inadequate housewife. While the central protagonist has been shown to be lacking in cooking skills, she is otherwise, what would be a perfect housewife. Her efforts in the kitchen department also go all out to show her as a person always looking to improve and be a better wife to her man.
Now that, I have a problem with. A perfect housewife did not deserve to be treated that way. But a sorely lacking housewife does not deserve it too!!
A woman who can cook, cannot cook or simply does not want to cook. A woman who dresses conservatively, wakes up early, takes care of the family and supports her husband in every way does not deserve to be treated that way. But a women who dresses as she please, sleeps in till mid morning, does not go all out to take ‘desi bahu’ type of care when it concerns her inlaws and does not put supporting her husband first in every single situation does not deserve it either. But this, sadly, is the bane of Bollywood that we must all live with if we are to see beautiful women-centric movies from them, now and in the future.
As an ending footnote… this movie, and similar real life cases, all have one BIG premise….. and it is about the APOLOGY that never comes thanks to some very fragile but very big male egos.
Thankfully, fictional men (in books and movies) do apologise (while real men rarely do) and that is precisely why we all fall in love with all those Mr. Darcys and Mr Knightleys, you know.
Before we end, here’s the movie’s trailer: