Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Tanvi Azmi, Ratna Pathak Shah, Kumud Mishra and others
Amrita (Taapsee Pannu), as the trailer suggests could be any other woman, just like you and I. She is married to Vikram (Pavail Gulati), who has another spouse - his job, one he is very dedicated to and works relentlessly on being successful at it. Amrita is a working woman too! She house-keeps for Vikram, nurses and cares for his ailing mother (Tanvi Azmi), cooks, cleans, takes care of his needs and more. She is pretty happy with her ‘success’ as a homemaker. Though her marriage is mostly about give and take, with her giving and her husband taking. But there is a pride in our tribe as women, if our husband is well taken care of and happy in the marriage. The woman's successful relationship lies in the man's happiness, his success (at work of course), his pride (at having a beautiful arm candy) and such...
Till one day, you realise that a man’s successful relationship also lies in his happiness alone, his success and his pride! Amrita figures that on a night of a party at her home. When things get rocky at Vikram’s work and the wrath and frustration of it comes out, literally, as a resounding slap on Amrita’s face. Apparently, Amrita has another job profile, unknown to her, she is doubles up as a doormat/ punching bag.
In a quiet corner, Amrita contemplates what just happened to her seemingly perfect life! Was that slap long coming? Were there slaps, metaphorically, doled out to her that she was ignoring. Overwhelmed and ridiculed, Amrita decides to walk out of the marriage.
Her representative asks - 'So it was just one slap?' this dialogue sums up everything that is wrong with the society and marriages at large. Why would a woman walk out on a marriage, if her husband is not having an affair? Is not “regularly” hitting her… after all, as one of Vikram’s friend claims – a lil violence in love, is alright really!
The beauty of Thappad is the hope that it brings with it. Not so much the hope, of having an understanding father like Amrita’s but the hope we find in a filmmaker like Anubhav Sinha. The fact that he understands the dynamics of a man-woman relationship and the essence of respect and self-respect in it.
Thappad is a film that has his actors so completely insync with its story that you start believing them to be the characters they play. With the exception of Taapsee. She might have not been at her best in this one, perhaps because it is so different from who she really is. Projecting the vulnerable Amrita, who finally finds her backbone might not have been an easy task for Taapsee and it shows.
Yet, it is too miniscule a hurdle for a film this fantastic.
There has be a special mention of Pavail Gulati and Kumud Mishra who are fantastic in their roles as Amrita’s husband and father, respectively. Ratna Pathak Shah – someone who should have given Taapsee a little workshop on how-to-play-a-character different from you, because she is simply exquisite as the mother resisting her daughter’s divorce. It is impossible to name each of the characters in Anubhav Sinha’s mirror to the society but it should suffice to say that the director has managed to make everyone memorable to the audience.
Take a bow Mr. Sinha! You nailed it again.