Thappad Movie Review: A powerful movie which questions the gender hierarchy and an individual's dignity.Modified On: 28 February 2020 | Reviewed By: Saurabh S Nair
Thappad is not a women-centric film. It is a film that questions the gender hierarchy society which trivializes all the problematic things happening in a married couple's life.
Cast: Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Kumud Mishra, Maya Sarao, Ratna Pathak Shah, Geetika Vidya
Directed By: Anubhav Sinha
The patriarchal society of our country has made domestic violence a trivial matter, especially in married couples. Still in this era, people think that physical violence or slapping each other is the sign of affection. The film tells that even a single Thappad is problematic.
Thappad is a simple story of an upper-middle-class couple based in Delhi. The wife is questioning if it is okay for her husband to slap her, even if it is a one-off case. But Thappad doesn’t leave it to just a question. At the core of the story is a human being’s ego, gender irrelevant here. Anubhav Sinha lends a certain subtlety to the film that a film like this needed.
The film is 2 hours 21 minutes, the film may seem a bit long, but the story moves at a decent pace and keeps you engaged. Through his protagonist’s journey, Sinha shakes your dormant conscience and forces you to have a dialogue with yourself.
The patriarchal norms that we have conditioned to submit to and everyday misogyny that we accept without question are shown for what they are. Whether it’s telling women, ‘Shaadi mein yeh sab chalta hai’ or ‘Thoda bardasht karna seekhna chahiye autaron ko’, the dialogues just re-emphasise what we have heard time and again. Don’t forget a dialogue where one of Vikram’s colleagues justifies his action saying, ‘When you’re truly in love, thodi bahut maar peet toh is expression of love only na’.
Taapsee Pannu delivers a spectacular performance as a submissive and vulnerable wife whose life could have been poles apart if she has chosen a different path. Despite playing this restrained character, you see her fiery and feisty side onscreen at many places. Her silences are more powerful than her actual dialogues in the film and that’s a great thing for an actor to pull off. You connect with her pain, anger, and helplessness when she’s trying to break free from the mold that the society has forced her into.
Debutant Pavail Gulati seamlessly steps into Vikram’s skin and he’s a character you hate throughout for his insensitivity. He’s unapologetic about his action and he’d immediately say sorry to his boss but can’t do or even feel the same to his wife. He has given a confident performance and despite Taapsee stealing the show, it’s pleasant to see how Gulati holds his ground.
Thappad’s strength also lies in its strong supporting cast. Ratna Pathak Shah and Kumud Mishra as Taapsee’s onscreen parents make you feel like your own. Both deliver fine performances; while Shah expects his daughter to understand the unbreakable bond marriage is supposed to be, Mishra always has Amrita’s back. Then there’re Dia Mirza and Ram Kapoor whose parts, I feel, are quite half-baked and rushed, put in there just to join the dots.
Co-written by Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul, Thappad uses Amrita’s treatment as a springboard to dive into the gender wars between men and women. Rather than apologizing or attempting to understand Amrita’s altered state of mind, Vikram bangs on about his lost opportunity. Her mother-in-law (Tanvi Azmi) and mother (Ratna Pathak Shah) suggest that she cave in – after all, that is what women do. Even the lawyer Nethra (Maya Sarao), who physically resembles the Supreme Court advocate Menaka Guruswamy, initially suggests that Amrita sue for peace.
The film takes on deep-rooted patriarchy and unfair marital norms that our society doesn’t wish to raise a voice against. Sinha’s Thappad is the much needed slap everyone needed to break the silence and call out the wrong. Even if it doesn’t lead to things changing overnight, it certainly has started a debate, a dialogue that can make way for some change sooner or later.
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