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Meghna Gulzar casts real acid attack survivors in ‘Chhapaak’

Mumbai, Dec 28  Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar’s next offering “Chhapaak”, starring Deepika Padukone, will also feature some real acid attack survivors.

The film will narrate the story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.

“The decision to cast real acid attack survivors was fairly an organic one because we had the characters of Malti and Amol, and Amol runs an NGO where survivors and volunteers work for the welfare of other survivors. In that, we had to have actors who plays survivors and I thought why not get the actual survivors from Alok Dixit’s NGO to play the parts and I am just grateful they agreed,” said Meghna.

Laxmi herself isn’t playing her part in the film.

Meghna said: “As hard as it may be to believe but Laxmi acting in the film, or wanting to act in the film or showing any desire to act in the film never came up, directly nor indirectly. One would have needed a professional and proficient actor who could deliver to the calibre of the performance. None of us including Laxmi would want to lose out on the substance and impact of the film. I feel Laxmi too realised the gravity of the performance required in the film and therefore it just never came up.”

Sheroes and Chhanv Foundation’s four acid attack survivors — Ritu, Bala, Jeetu and Kunti — have acted in the film.

“It’s unbelievable how uninhibited they are as actors, there is no self consciousness neither when the camera comes on nor when it’s off. You will see that when you see the film and it has been a very precious experience to direct these girls,” Meghna said.

“Convincing them was not difficult at all. In fact I was blown away by their enthusiasm for the film. They feel it’s a very significant film to the cause of acid attack survivors. They supported the film wholeheartedly. Working on ‘Chhapaak’ was another way of supporting the film. They delivered beyond our expectations,” she added.