Thappad

Thappad (transl. Slap) is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language drama film directed and co-produced (with Bhushan Kumar) by Anubhav Sinha.

The film stars Taapsee Pannu as a woman who files for divorce after her husband slaps her.

The statement above is the premise in a nutshell

So, Does this Slap work?

Let’s find out!

Firstly, What Doesn’t Work?

  • The length of the movie is a drag at certain points
  • Post interval, the narrative flounders about aimlessly
  • It takes a certain point for it to gather steam again

Now, What Works?

  • The script is fluid
  • All references, ironies and metaphors are evidently placed
  • We just need to spot them
  • The hypocritical mindset of our society is portrayed point blank
  • This portrayal doesn’t spare any one
  • Be it family members, friends, parents; every one carries this mindset
  • There is no judgment placed on any one despite the mindset being intentional/unintentional
  • It is left to us, the audience to understand what constitutes right and wrong
  • The narrative kind of makes us uncomfortable
  • The reason for this is the thoughts running in our mind
  • These notions are being spouted as dialogues by the characters on screen
  • So what I am thinking is being said out loud on screen

You want examples?

  • Ek Thappad hi hai na?
  • Pyaar mein thodi bahut maar chalti hai na?
  • Ladkiyon ko adjust karna padhta hai
  • I think we got the gist, right?

How are these thoughts effective?

  • This causes a certain discomfort for us, the audience
  • The underlying reason for this could be the fact that all of us have been there at some point in time
  • The assertion made by the protagonist is enough to put things in perspective
  • The perspective that affirms that even ONE SLAP ain’t enough
  • It kind of shows us our true face as a society
  • The face that we put on for validation; for blending in with others
  • The narrative compels us to understand that even in our day to day lives it is not fine
  • We cannot treat a spouse/parent/partner/sibling(irrespective of gender) with disdain and dismiss it under the garb of normalcy

What else works here?

  • The technical aspects of this movie are competent enough to lend gravitas to the central theme
  • The Music is solemn and tranquil lending a poignant touch to well executed sequences
  • At no point, does the movie turn into a weapon for feminism
  • It is balanced delicately and talks about Equality
  • An Equal right for every one irrespective of gender and status
  • There are scenes that drive these points home with subtlety
  • Sinha’s direction is beautiful; it does not lend to shout out loud moments
  • It infact goes for the opposite and yet strikes hard

Sinha does something really effective with the opening credits:

  • He establishes the central theme of the story through the POV of 3 other couples
  • While this is happening, the credits almost displays every person on the crew giving precedence to their Maternal Name
  • He also chooses to end the story through the POV of the same couples

The Performances?

  • Each and every actor on this cast contributes to the proceedings
  • We can run out of adjectives to define many of these performances
  • Exquisite, Splendid, Effective, Fantabulous are just a few of them

However, I will make special mention for a few of them:

  • Kumud Mishra as the father supporting his daughter at every turn
  • Ratna Pathak Shah as the one tied between custom and morality
  • Tanvi Azmi, the mother in law having suffered her own demons
  • Maya Sarao as the lawyer fighting for just a slap; What a revelation!
  • Geetika Vidya as the maid enduring hell with a pinch of salt

I would like to single out one more performance: Pavail Gulati

  • This actor playing the husband at the core of the story
  • It is pretty easy to get type cast in the role of the one accused
  • However, to his and Sinha’s credit the character remains humane yet flawed like any of us TYPICAL MEN
  • Ignorant, Nonchalant, smug and self centered
  • He walks the tight rope between being a caricature and a stereotype pretty neatly
  • Thus, he’s able to hold his own against Taapsee

Hats off this actor!

Now, let me speak about the character at the core!

  • Taapsee Pannu: She essays a lot with her silences more so than her dialogues
  • There are sequences where she nails it on screen
  • You see what’s gone wrong with the character
  • She makes you believe how one slap is sufficient to jolt you out of your slumber
  • It also leads to realisation that letting go is not the solution and never will be

The Verdict on Thappad?

  • Thappad deserves to be seen by every Woman to realise Itni Si Baat nahi hai!
  • It also should be seen by Every Man to know how to stop taking each and every woman in our lives for Granted
  • The Message, The Direction and Performances truly make this Thought Provoking Cinema

P.S: It is hard not to walk out of the theater with your head filled with thoughts

  • Every thought hits you like a sledgehammer
  • Every thing that we did or have done will start playing on our minds
  • It did for me, to be honest!
  • I think this movie came in a week too early, it should have been a release on the week of Women’s Day
  • To all the women that I know and have known, I think this Movie is an Epitome of how you keep your self-respect and esteem intact

Please watch it all you lovely ladies; I would gladly love to accompany you all to a screening and get your insight on this powerful piece of cinema that is Thappad

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