Director: Anubhav Sinha
Writer: Anubhav Sinha, Mrunmayee Lagoo
Cast : Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Ratna Pathak Shah .
Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Thappad hits the right chords in many places. At its core, Thappad is a marriage story held together by a delicate thread of dignity and self-esteem. It’s a simple story of how Amrita, a housewife with an almost perfect household re-evaluates all her decisions after her husband slaps her at a party, to vent his anger due to corporate politics. It’s a subtle portrayal which makes us wonder the complacency we have around patriarchy, how the idea of domestic violence is taken as a facetious remark in the general household.
One of the things that I liked most about Thappad is the subtle yet brilliant juxtaposition of different households, i.e. Ammu’s (Tapsee) and Sunita, the housemaid. How differently they are treated and how different their lives are, and how privilege is deeply present in us. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The star of the story is no doubt Tapsee who fully embraces the role. Ratna Pathak Shah is as always wonderful and plays the conflicted mother perfectly. All the characters are well written, especially Vikram(Pavail Gulati). Vikram’s character was a tricky one as it’s easy to see him as the ultimate bad guy in this movie, which he isn’t. He is loving to his wife, treats his parents and in-laws with respect. He is just entitled to a bit of privilege and is hell-bent to make his career a success. Kumud Mishra plays the ever understanding father with ease, while Tanvi Azmi as the supportive in-law is also convincing. One cast that pleasantly surprised me was Geetika Vidya, playing the role of the house-maid Sunita. She is eccentric when the character demands, and her pent-up retaliation towards the end of the film is a joy to watch.
Keeping all this in mind, Thappad isn’t a perfect film. Sure, the movie is great but the underlying societal message may not be interpreted the same way by everyone. The movie makes one think of our perception of how we want to interpret it. To each their own. As much as I love seeing the beautiful Tapsee on screen, the 2hr 22min runtime also isn’t helping, the narrative was a bit stretched and could be cut short the narrative was a bit stretched. There is also a needless relationship thread of the lawyer which doesn’t contribute much to the story.
All in all, a pretty decent watch, open to many interpretations.
Verdict: 5/7 stars