A privileged male character in one of the scenes says, “A slap is also an expression of love”. Something we have heard before. But the notion of this deep-rooted patriarchy is questioned in Anubhav Sinha’s ‘Thappad’.
Directed by- Anubhav Sinha
Produced by- Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Anubhav Sinha
Written by- Anubhav Sinha, Mrunmayee Lagoo
Starring- Tapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Ratna Pathak Shah, Tanvi Azmi, Dia Mirza, Ram Kapoor, Kumud Mishra
Amrita aka Ammu played by Tapsee Pannu is a housewife who fulfils all her duties adhering to the definition of a good wife. But one fine day, the entire world of this upper-middle-class family turns upside down when the man of the house slaps his wife in the heat of the moment.
As the name suggest, the story revolves around one slap – which is not acceptable. When Amrita files a divorce, she says “usne mujhe thappad mara. Nei maar sakta. Bas itni si baat hain. Meri petition bhi bas itni si hain.”
And writer-director Anubhav Sinha stays true to this line that no amount of justification can rationalise the abuse that is sexual, verbal or physical. Hence, it is not a tale of twist and turns and over dramatisation, but it is about that one slap which we have already seen in the trailer. How the film unfolds is in the micro-aggression that builds up to manifest physical, here it is that “one slap”.
Based on that slap and how the relationship between Amrita and her husband is depicted, the movie aims to throw light on a much bigger canvas, that of the relationships other women around harbours. Some of the women figures around her are: her mother-in-law played by the wonderful Tanvi Azmi, her domestic help played by Geetika Vidya Ohlyan, her neighbour played by Dia Mirza, her mother played by Ratna Pathak, and her brother’s girlfriend.
Despite the female gaze in the narrative, it maintains the fine line from alienating the male perception by not deviating the men on the screen space towards villainous caricatures. Rather, it states the inherited male chauvinism in the society.
In moments of the movie, the inherited chauvinism is so stark that the men are shown against the most progressive backdrops such as Amu’s father played by Kumud Mishra, as he scolds his son for misbehaving with his girlfriend and he does not even realise the sacrifices of his wife.
This film is full of such moments which are subtle but hits hard and makes you question the existing entitlements in the society.
Here is the trailer of Taapsee Pannu’s movie Thappad!