Thappad is a film not about domestic violence, but about male-entitlement and pretense in Indian marriages. The film is about an upper-middle class couple, Amrita and Vikram, who have a set way of life where they follow set gender roles. There life takes a huge turn when Vikram played by Pavail Gulati slaps Amrita played by Taapsee Pannu in-front family, friends and colleagues from work. This leads to the ideal daughter-in-law and wife not letting go of it, and leading to her thinking about a divorce. Anubhav Sinha makes you question is a slap enough to think about a divorce?
The film begins with how relationship between the two couple has been built, how Taapsee is a loving wife, daughter-in-law who is planning to leave her husband as he is completely unapologetic about what he did. The slap reveals how generations of women in our society prevent themselves from speaking out about violence, their dreams and desires because of better well-being of their family. Her mother to her mother-in-law tell her ‘aurat ko thora sensna paratha hai’. Throughout the film, Anubhav Sinha makes you feel you wish he did not slap her because that’s exactly his point. He wants to convey the message that Vikram is not a bad man, he is just any other entitled Indian male.
The film has been shot beautifully, and conveys the message to the audience in a very subtle way. Taapsee Pannu and Pavail Gulati have given amazing performances, but the film is really held by Taapsee and her character – Amrita’s character is very fragile, at the same time very strong on her belief that my husband cannot hit when asking her lawyer to file for a divorce. Lawyer finds a slap shocking to be a ground for divorce. Taapsee has taken her performance to another level, and understood the depth of her character and portrayed it beautifully on the screen.
Thappad’s social messaging about issues regarding marriages in India which transits class and generation lines. It makes men question themselves internally and makes women introspect years of conditioning to let men go of such sexist behavior. I am going with four out of five stars for Thappad as it a much needed film for our society.