‘Thappad’ Movie Review: Taapsee Pannu’s riveting social drama questions the very fabric of marriage and its unsaid rules
Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Anubhav Sinha
Bollywood Bubble Rating
What’s It About
‘Thappad’ is about how a simple and loving housewife suddenly realises about all the compromises she is doing in the marriage after she is slapped by her well-to-do and sophisticated husband in the middle of a party. While the housewife understands it’s not right, she is being compelled by everyone else to let the incident pass off as a one-time judgement slip on the part of the husband. The husband, however, hasn’t even apologised once for the slap. Will the wife let it go and get back to leading the happy life she was already leading? Or will she stand up against what’s wrong and get justice done for her own self? Well, for that you will have to watch the movie.
While generally I always talk about the actors first, but today, I want to start off with the best thing about this film – it’s writing by Anubhav Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo. The film has been so nicely written that every minute detail and nuance comes out visibly strong. There are things that are not spoonfed and layered in the dialogues, which when you listen to make you realise how often even you use them in your day to day life totally ignorant of the fact as to how sexist it might sound if heard with scrutiny.
Anubhav Sinha’s direction is top-notch. Am loving the 2.0 version of the man who has decided to tell stories like ‘Mulk’, ‘Article 15’ and ‘Thappad’. He is investing deeply in the story and is making sure that each and every shot division has been planned minutely even before the film hits the shooting floor. To add to it, Anubhav Sinha has come up with a way to make his characters not only real but likeable at the same time. Even in a story like ‘Thappad’, you know that the husband is wrong, but you also realise that he isn’t a bad guy and he genuinely loves his wife. Kudos to you Anubhav in getting that balance to utter perfection.
Coming to the actors, Taapsee Pannu is carrying a heavy load of the lead of the film on her shoulders, and she has come out with flying colours. She is spectacular in pretty much every frame. Having seen her as a rebellious woman in pretty much all her films, she surely showed off how she can even come up with the best of performances when she mellows it down and lets her eyes speak and emote. Fabulous!
Newbie Pavail Gulati is also impeccable. Even though you know he is wrong, the way Pavail Gulati has played the character makes you want to hate him, but at the same time also realise that he’s not a bad guy at heart. He has made the character so believable that you will be left seeing shades of your personal patriarchal life in him.
Lastly, the supporting cast. Starting from Kumud Mishra, Ratna Pathak Shah and Tanvi Azmi, everyone has been cast to brilliance. Their performances and appearances are so real, you will feel like you have had seen such people in your personal lives.
A stellar actor like Manav Kaul has been pretty much wasted. Either he should have been given a bigger role in the film, or maybe, his part could have been done by just about any other newbie. Didn’t need the established brilliance of Manav Kaul for that character of a top journalist. To add to it, there’s Dia Mirza, who has just been shown as the good-natured, good-looking neighbour. I wish her character was explored more. Ram Kapoor also is good as a menacing lawyer ready to do anything to win the case for his client, yet he too has been given lesser screentime.
Possibly all these actors are good friends with Anubhav and wanted to be a part of this beautiful story that he was telling. Maybe, as a director, unable to say no to them all, he cast them in smaller roles, which could have possibly been played by any junior artiste.
Also, as it was projected in the trailers, ‘Thappad’ seemed to be a courtroom drama with lawyers involved who were trying hard to dissect whether or not just a slap (Thappad) is grounds enough for separation and divorce. Sadly, there was no courtroom drama in it. Except for a minuscule scene towards the end, there was nothing which could justify as a courtroom drama.
Despite all these, there is very little that has gone wrong in ‘Thappad’.
‘Thappad’ is a definite MUST WATCH. Watch it not just for Taapsee Pannu. Watch it not just for the fantastic writing and direction by Anubhav Sinha and Mrunmayee Lagoo. Watch it because it has a slice of your own life. Watch it because of the impactful social drama it is, which simply questions the unsaid rules of marriage. I am going with 4 stars.
Considering there are no other big releases this Friday, this movie might just turn out to be a sleeper hit just like Anubhav Sinha’ previous two films, ‘Article 15’ and ‘Mulk’. I am hoping for the film to turn into a massive money-spinner as the message is something that needs to percolate in every stratum of society.