‘Thappad’ is a 2020 Bollywood film directed by Anubhav Sinha, starring Tapsee Pannu in the lead role. When its trailer dropped on YouTube it made quite a stir. People were either outraged or impressed.
The film follows the story of Amrita, a sweet home-maker by choice, with a loving husband who is up for a promotion. The first few minutes present a happy montage of a married couple in love. Things take a u-turn when Amrita’s husband slaps her at a party for no fault of hers. That one slap triggers her to introspect her entire relationship. And she decides to file for a divorce.
‘I don’t love you anymore,’ she tells the husband.
Almost everybody in the film tries to convince her that it’s not reason enough to end a relationship. Even her lawyer. ‘Think it through, divorce proceedings can get really ugly,’ Amrita is warned.
‘Thappad’ is an important film, that forces us to introspect how we still live in a jarringly patriarchal society. Divorce continues to be a taboo subject in the country and most women are expected to just suck it up and make the marriage work.
The film shows the viewer how women are belittled in unwitting little ways and worse yet – how women themselves are complicit in encouraging such behavior. “Shit happens. People move on,” Amrita’s husband tells her. Not once apologizing for the slap. But the slap is no longer the bone of contention anymore. It’s only a tipping point, that helps her see through all the ways in which she had been undermined in the marriage.
The only problem with the film was that the makers tried to make the plot too complicated by squeezing in multiple stories. They had their heart in the right place, but it drags down the pace of the film and makes it boring in parts. Almost each character is unnecessarily given their own little story that comes off as too contrived.
Special mention to Kumud Mishra, the actor who played Amrita’s father, his character was brilliant. He is supportive of all her decisions, as long as she is sure of them.
While the editing could have been tighter, to make it a more compelling watch, ‘Thappad’ is definitely a recommendable film.