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Uyare Got More Critical Acclaim Than Chhapaak. Why Do We Need Bollywood To Talk About A Subject To Make It Mainstream?

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When I was younger, I remember I used to hear more of acid attacks than I did before Chhapaak. I was too young and I had way to gauge the truth of that situation. Were acid attacks really extensively covered by media? I don’t know. In fact, I remember watching the video of a song, Kahin Kahin se har chehra featuring Riya Sen and she plays the role of an acid attack survivor. This was year 2000 and I was 8 years old so I didn’t realise the beauty of this song. In fact, I didn’t even know how  she got that scar. But today, I appreciate that a commercial song was made on this subject! Because acid attack stories need a prime spot and not just be left to “offbeat” coverage.

I feel like until Chhapaak happened, media had stopped covering acid attacks, maybe it didn’t catch our eyes or it was too common and wasn’t worth talking about. I remember a couple fashion shoots and shows that worked with acid attack survivors but there wasn’t much of story-telling. However, I am glad that this is changing and thanks to Deepika Padukone’s Chhapaak, this subject is once again getting the attention it deserves. Recently, Malayalam actor Parvathy Thiruvothu posted on Instagram, appreciating the film and connecting it to her film Uyare which also talks about acid attacks.

She wrote: “‘Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable’ – Banksy. Movies impact and how! #Chhapaak has fortified the undercurrent of awakening I had a year ago through Uyare. For the many Pallavis and Maltis of this world; the ones who survived and the ones who succumbed to the attacks- we owe it to them to keep speaking up. To bring their stories to the fore. Thank you @meghnagulzar @deepikapadukone and the whole cast and crew for holding us so close through Malti’s journey.”

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“Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” – Banksy Movies impact and how! #Chhapaak has fortified the undercurrent of awakening I had a year ago through Uyare. For the many Pallavis and Maltis of this world; the ones who survived and the ones who succumbed to the attacks- we owe it to them to keep speaking up. To bring their stories to the fore. Thank you @meghnagulzar @deepikapadukone and the whole cast and crew for holding us so close through Malti’s journey. Let’s stay reminded that acid is still sold over the counter in our country and we are losing hundreds of lives every year due to faulty implementation of regulations and stringent deterrent laws. Let’s stay reminded that one remains party to this by staying apolitical and choosing not to engage and not ask questions. Let’s stay reminded that more often than not its mere luck that lets us walk freely ,myself included, and not because we have the certainty of security. Let’s listen better and get used to the unrest. We are all we have ! #repost @meghnagulzar ・・・ That need to be told. That need to be felt. @deepikapadukone @vikrantmassey87 @atika.chohan @shankarehsaanloy #Gulzar @foxstarhindi @_kaproductions @mrigafilms

A post shared by Parvathy Thiruvothu (@par_vathy) on

But simply going to the theatre and appreciating the movie is not enough. If we are not making a noise, then the purpose of the film gets defeated. At the same time, I hope all these ripples don’t become still again, once the movie fades away from the big screen. Parvathy wrote, “Let’s stay reminded that acid is still sold over the counter in our country and we are losing hundreds of lives every year due to faulty implementation of regulations and stringent deterrent laws. Let’s stay reminded that one remains party to this by staying apolitical and choosing not to engage and not ask questions. Let’s stay reminded that more often than not its mere luck that lets us walk freely, myself included, and not because we have the certainty of security. Let’s listen better and get used to the unrest. We are all we have ! #repost @meghnagulzar That need to be told. That need to be felt.”

But here’s our point – Uyare– Parvathy’s film was a major box office success. But the conversation around acid attacks did not became as mainstream as it did with Chhapaak. In fact, according to Wikipedia, “Uyare was released in India on 26 April 2019. It received widespread critical acclaim and was a major box office success of the year in Malayalam. It was nominated for the Best Debut Feature Film of a director at the 50th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), to be held from 20 to 28 November 2019.”

The movie has many successes to its name, a quick Google search reveals that “As of 21 June 2019, Uyare is the third highest-grossing Malayalam film of 2019 in the United States and the rest-of-India territories, behind Lucifer and Kumbalangi Nights. It grossed $93,597 (₹64.98 lakh) in the US in eight weeks.”

And despite all this, the conversation around acid attacks became mainstream only after Chhapaak. Are Bollywood’s stories the only ones consumed on a mass basis? Nope. And despite that, brilliant movies from the south do not get their due. And we need this to change.

ALSO READ: Chhapaak Review: The Film Uses Subtle Details In Clothes And Makeup To Make Malti’s Struggle Come To Life

We owe it to the acid attack survivors. They are not a different subset, but one of us. We owe it to each other because it can be any of us. We are not safe and it is indeed true, that it’s just a matter of luck and time that nothing has happened.

ALSO READ: Chhapaak Makes Less Than 20 Crores While Tanhaji Surges Ahead. Is Deepika Paying The Price Of Her Politics?

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