We had revealed a few days ago that Deepika Padukone would be turning producer soon, and her first production would be a female-centric film on acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal in collaboration with filmmaker Meghna Gulzar of Talvar and Raazi fame. Well, our report has turned out to be accurate. Deepika and Meghna are indeed joining hands for the project, which will also be directed by the latter while the former will double as producer and lead protagonist. Deepika has been focusing all her energies of late in setting up her own production house, which is also one of the main reasons for her having kept a low profile post Padmaavat – well, that, and her impending marriage plans, of course.
On marking her debut as Producer Deepika Padukone said, “When I heard the story,I was deeply moved. It is a story not just of gross violence, but of strength,courage,hope and victory.It has had such a massive impact on me that I personally and creatively needed go beyond and hence the decision to turn producer too.”
Speaking about the subject of the film, Film maker Meghna Gulzar said,”In spite of regulation on the sale of Acid and changes in legislation regarding acid attacks, both of which are consequences of the Acid attack case of Laxmi and her PIL – the ground reality is still very grim. Acid violence is a very prevalent danger even today. Medical treatment, compensation, rehabilitation and inclusion of Acid attack survivors are still very real challenges. Using Laxmi’s story as a lens, we are attempting to explore these aspects and consequences of Acid violence in our society. This is what makes this story, relevant and one that must be told. Because if anything, awareness is the first step towards change.”
Touting Deepika as the best choice for the role, Meghna added, “It is both an emotionally and physically challenging role to play. I was instinctively convinced that Deepika can do justice to the character and the story. Also, her physicality matched what I had imagined for the character of Laxmi. I am grateful and feel extremely encouraged that Deepika was so spontaneous in her decision to do this film. Also, when you take a face as beautiful as hers, and portray it as an Acid survivor, the magnitude of the violence and damage is that much more resounding.”
Looking forward to the journey with Meghna, Deepika addes, “I have been greatly impacted by Meghna’s work and beyond thrilled to be collaborating with her.vWe now look forward to commencing our journey on this film.”
Laxmi, who comes from a humble, unprivileged background, was 15 when the attack occurred, which was at a New Delhi bus stop in 2005. Her assailant was a man twice her age, known to her family, and an unlikely suitor whose advances Laxmi had clearly declined. Through Laxmi’s story, the film makes an attempt to understand the on-ground consequences of surviving an acid attack in India, and the medico-legal-social state of affairs that transpire after the acid has been hurled and the face is irreparably burnt.
While the film showcases Laxmi’s journey in the time after her attack spanning 10 years, a significant part of the story is the game-changing PIL in the Supreme Court which inspired the amendment on acid laws in 2013.
With various narratives intertwined, the film will be a gritty investigative piece, interspersed with a compelling courtroom drama. If the story is to be summed up in one line, then it is a story of triumph of the irrepressible human spirit.
Lakshmi, who underwent nine corrective surgeries post the attack, became a beacon of hope for fellow victims of acid attacks. The film is slated to go on floors early next year.