Based on the persuasive recommendations of my few friends, decided to have a ‘dekho’ of the newly released movie, Thappad. Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad has a one-point agenda: you cannot slap a woman, and expect her to ignore it, and move on. You Can Not. Thappad bears its message, more essential than ever, on its chin: Women are not property. Wives are not owned and one doesn’t go body shopping in a marriage. Thappad is a simple story of an upper-middle-class couple based in Delhi. The wife is questioning if it is okay for her husband to slap her, even if it is a one-off case, that too in a fit of anger.
While one appreciates the intense acting of Tapsee Pannu, one cannot say the same of her ‘actions’. The other characters in the film and all the audience in a packed PVR also did not approve of her extreme step. In that sense, Audience did not seem to agree either with the director or the actor. While the action of the otherwise loving husband, to slap his wife, was deplorable, so was the stubbornness of the wife to pull down everything in an insane way. Her actions would have been justified had it been on account of adultery, unbearable cruelty or violence, willful desertion, drug/alcohol addiction, natural impotency, incurable insanity or some such thing: It was none of that. In a society where a majority of the wives still do not address their husbands by their first name, the movie seemed to be ‘avant garde’- ahead of its times.
Robert Anderson had put it aptly, ““In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find and continue to find grounds for marriage.” Tapsee Pannu , perhaps, failed to realize this. As stated, “Her acting is good, actions aren’t”!
Finally, the most appropriate film review came from a North-Indian old lady sitting next to me who said, “Til ka taad bana diya” : Making a mountain of a mole hill.
But then, come to think of it, when it comes to marriage, no one can convincingly say, how much is too much: A little too much can well be a lot too much!