“I was drawn to Laxmi Agarwal’s character for her triumph”

Actress Deepika Padukone is acid-attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal in Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak. The film will hit the big screens on Jan 10, 2020. In the launching event of the film’s trailer, an emotional Deepika shared her experience of portraying Laxmi onscreen and much more.
Some excerpts
It seems Chhapaak is a kind of a film which becomes a benchmark in an actress’ career. What made you do this film?
I think it is not often when one comes across a story that inspires an actor so much. It is not about an incident as much as it is about the triumph over it. I have been extremely fortunate to meet Laxmi (Laxmi Agarwal) and many others to see their spirit. Apart from that, I was interested because of the marriage between such kind of a story and the right person to tell it. I could see the sincerity and honesty of Meghna Gulzar in telling the story. I knew I was in good hands. An actor very often comes across good stories but also a director is needed to tell the story in an honest, authentic and responsible manner.
What was your feeling when you read the script first?
I clearly remember when Meghna came to meet me. She had opened the script and read maximum two pages when I had agreed to do the film. Such things do not happen often. I remember I didn’t read the script that day but much later. I knew instantly that Chhapaak was the film which I wanted to do.
The film will not be an entertainer but definitely going to touch the heart. How are you going to measure the success of it?
Honestly, success of a film to me is the impact it is able to bring in people’s life. Every movie does not need to be hard-hitting but it can be simple emotion. The ability of a film to make one feel, think something and evoke emotion is the meter of success to me. Also the sign of a successful movie is its longevity to me.
How was your journey in the film? How tough was it to see yourself in front of mirror?
I didn’t know how would I feel seeing myself on mirror. I remember it took four or five hours to put the prosthetic. When I looked at mirror for the first time after the prosthetic was done, I felt like myself. I told it to Meghna also. I felt nothing had changed and that was the day when I found the character and what I need to do in this movie.
You have openly spoken about your struggles in life through your Foundation. Did that help you to internalise Laxmi’s role?
Honestly I don’t know whether there is a co-relation between mine and Laxmi’s struggle. I don’t think I will ever be able to define it or describe why I am drawn to certain subjects or characters. But of course I am drawn to characters that can stand up for themselves or have a voice, an inner grit and determination. I was drawn to Laxmi’s character not because of the incident but her overcoming of it and the way she has lived her life after. (IBNS-TWF)