On Domestic Violence

Not Just a Thappad

The phenomenon of domestic violence is discussed through the film Thappad, which addresses the issue sensitively. Domestic violence across different social classes and the internalised patriarchy when it comes to navigating measures like divorce are explored. The depiction of violence in Bollywood is elaborated on and the need for more films like Thappad is emphasised.

Anubhav Sushila Sinha, the writer, director and producer of the film Thappad (2020), in a recent tweet (29 February 2020) expressed astonishment over the number of telephone calls he received from men about his recently released film. Though the tweet does not betray the content of the response, it ­indicates that the film was instrumental in jolting the viewer to react. This characteristic of spectator reaction makes Thappad an important film; a film that boldly lashes out against the normalisation of domestic violence. It brings to the forefront social apathy to a form of injustice often neglected as a private matter, considered immaterial if brought out in the public domain and even berated for.

The film brings to fore how emotionally dislodging and mentally excruci­ating is the act of being slapped. The protagonist Amrita, played by Taapsee Pannu, is hit by her husband Vikram, played by Pavail Gulati, at a party organised to celebrate the achievement of the latter. At the party, Vikram gets into a heated argument when he gets to know that he was being superseded at work by another employee. Amrita tries to calm him down, but he ends up hitting her. As the narrative progresses, the protagonist is perplexed at how conveniently people around her are able to return to their chores and expect her to do the same. The act remains with her, gnawing at her being, as she forces herself to participate in the mundane routine of household work. She remains disconcerted, feeling alienated in the tasks that she had hitherto dutifully performed and is unable to vent out her feelings.

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Updated On : 26th Jul, 2020

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