Thappad Hindi Movie

Feature Film | 2020 | U | Drama | 2h 22min
Thappad is far from perfect. It has big ideas, but many of these are spoon-fed to the audience. Still, Anubhav Sinha's film merits a watch for its novel theme and an impressive performance from Taapsee Pannu.
May 3, 2020 By Sreejith Mullappilly

Anuhhav Sinha's 'Thappad' is a film with noble intentions. Most of the movie's big ideas are conveyed through explanatory dialogues. So what happens is that the acting sometimes takes a backseat. At key moments in the film, dialogues are used to explain heavy ideas, instead of emotions being acted out. Thankfully, Taapsee Pannu is a powerhouse of an actor, and Thappad gets her character right. She can express feelings through mere gestures. In Thappad, she plays a housewife named Amrita who is traumatized by her husband's neglect.

The slap he gives her early on in the film is this neglect manifesting itself in the form of physical violence. The incident forces Amrita to open her eyes to some harsh realities and bitter truth in life. After it, all hell breaks loose for Amu. Thappad shows her transition from being just another housewife into the most provocative voice in the family. It is an interesting film, but one that does not hit all the right notes. There are some parts that sag here, and others that soar.

Many viewers feel that Thappad makes them look into the man within them, and that it is effectively provocative in this regard. I wonder whether this kind of provocation was Sinha's intention at all. If it was, Vikram (an earnest Pavail Gulati) would have been the bad guy here. Instead, he is just a mellowed, less offensive version of Arjun Reddy.

I am no strong believer that we need a movie to realize that a man slapping a housewife is wrong and that her seeking justice for this is right. This thought should not necessarily come after watching the movie. But the issue with Thappad is that it is an instructional film, rather than a reminder of what's wrong in society. Thappad does not just whisper the message into our ears; instead, the movie spells it out loud. It pretends that all of us are just oblivious to the rights and wrongs in the husband slapping wife situation. Subtlety is hardly one of Thappad's virtues. Maybe Anubhav Sinha could use taking a leaf out of Surjit Sircar's book. Sircar made a more profound film called Pink, without coming across as too instructional.

Most of the elders in Thappad look like they all could do with a crash course on etiquettes in marital relationships. Watching the film, I thought to myself, "Surely, they should not be this clueless regarding how to deal with the situation". A middle-aged uncle and aunt should know enough to realize that their daughter is on the right side. But this is not just any other aunt and uncle, these characters exist in Sinha's overactive brain.

Thappad uses the protagonist's situation to look at the actions of those around her. This is to say, at least the intention of the film is noble. There is an effective speech towards the end of the film where Sinha channels the inner Madhuri Dixit of Taapsee Pannu to a heightened effect. A lesser movie would have set this speech in a courtroom to make it more effective. Conversely, Sinha is intelligent enough to know how to tug at our heartstrings.

Sreejith Mullappilly