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Theatrical release poster
Directed byMeghna Gulzar
Written byAtika Chohan
Meghna Gulzar
Produced byFox Star Studios
Deepika Padukone
Govind Singh Sandhu
Meghna Gulzar
StarringDeepika Padukone
Vikrant Massey
CinematographyMalay Prakash
Edited byNitin Baid
Music byShankar–Ehsaan–Loy
Fox Star Studios
Ka Productions
Avernus Productions
Mriga Films
Distributed byFox Star Studios
Release date
  • 10 January 2020 (2020-01-10)
Running time
120 minutes[1]
Budget50 crore[2]
Box officeest. 55.44 crore[3]

Chhapaak (transl. Splash) is a 2020 Indian Hindi-language biographical drama film based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.[4] Directed by Meghna Gulzar, the film stars Deepika Padukone in leading role of a character inspired by Agarwal[5] alongside Vikrant Massey and Madhurjeet Sarghi.[6] It marked Padukone's production debut, and acting comeback after two years since Padmaavat (2018).[7] The film was jointly backed by Fox Star Studios, Ka Productions, Avernus Productions and Mriga Films.[8]

Shooting took place from March to June 2019 in locations near New Delhi and Mumbai.[9] Released worldwide on 10 January 2020 in cinemas, the film was declared tax-free in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In its theatrical run, the film grossed over 55 crore (US$6.9 million) globally and emerged as a commercial failure.[2][3]


A reporter named Alka meets Amol Dwivedi, the creator of a foundation for acid attack survivors, and informs him about Malti Agarwal, one such survivor fighting for a ban on the sale of acid. Malti is looking for employment, and Amol employs her at his organization.

In April 2005, Malti is attacked with acid in a busy market street in New Delhi. The police investigate – based on Malti's and her boyfriend Rajesh's testimony, they suspect Basheer "Babbu" Khan, a family friend of Malti's, and his brother's wife Parveen Shaikh. The police arrest Babbu after triangulating his phone signal in the same area as the attack, while Malti undergoes a series of surgeries to reconstruct her severely damaged face. Malti's parents work as domestic help in Shiraz's house; she helps financially with Malti's treatment and hires Archana Bajaj to be her lawyer.

Archana notes that acid attacks and burning someone with hot water come under the same section of the Indian Penal Code, so the punishment will be the same. In the first hearings, it is clear that Babbu and Parveen are guilty, as Malti's story is corroborated by witnesses and Parveen has the tell-tale burnt fingers from throwing the acid. However, as the law doesn't treat acid attack as a serious crime, Babbu is able to make bail and continue on with his life. Malti recognizes the need for a change to the law and regulations on acid sale, and she and Archana prepare a petition. Meanwhile, Malti's brother Rohit is diagnosed with advanced intestinal tuberculosis.

In August 2009, the court sentences Basheer Khan to 10 years and Parveen Shaikh to 7 years of imprisonment, but they appeal to the High Court. Malti collects funds for treatment and legal action for other acid attack survivors. She eventually succeeds in having the penal code amended. In 2013, another acid attack in Mumbai claims the life of Pinky Rathore, which leads to public outrage and regulations on acid sale. Malti becomes the face of acid attack survivors and develops feelings for Amol.

It is revealed that Basheer planned the acid attack on Malti in jealousy, and carried it out with help from Parveen. In October 2013, the Delhi High Court rejects Basheer's appeal, keeping the attackers in jail. The film ends with another acid attack in December 2013, and laments that despite the new regulations and media exposure, the frequency of acid attacks has not decreased, while acid is still bought and sold freely in India.


  • Deepika Padukone as Malti Agarwal (based on Laxmi Agarwal)[10]
  • Vikrant Massey as Amol Dwivedi
  • Madhurjeet Sarghi as Archana Bajaj
  • Devas Dixit as Manish
  • Anand Tiwari as Mr. Bajaj
  • Vaibhavi Upadhyay as Meenakshi
  • Payal Nair as Shiraz Jamshedji
  • Vishal Dahiya as Basheer "Babbu" Khan, the acid attacker (based on Nadeem Khan)[11]
  • Ankit Bisht as Rajesh[11]
  • Bhasha Sumbli as Babbu’s sister
  • Geeta Agarwal as Madhulika Agrawal, Malti's mother
  • Delzad Hivale as Rohit Agrawal, Malti's brother
  • Varun Ketan as Cameraman with Alka
  • Bharti Gola as Tasneem's Mother
  • Anjana Om Kashyap as herself
  • Pallavi Batra as Hardeep Kaur
  • Sunny Gill as Driver Anoop Singh
  • Sanjay Gurbasani as Malti's Doctor
  • Micky Makhija as Solicitor General
  • Sakshi Benipuri as Basheer's wife
  • Tahura Mansuri as Archana's Daughter


Deepika Padukone at Chhapaak premiere

The film was released worldwide on 10 January 2020 and allowed by the government to be exhibited without payment of taxes in the states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.[12][13][14]


On 7 January 2020, Padukone joined a protest-gathering at Jawaharlal Nehru University against the 2020 JNU Attack against left wing students and passage of CAA 2019.[15][16] The visit angered BJP leaders who expressed it in social media.[17] Soon enough, the hashtags BoycottChhapaak and BlockDeepika began trending in Indian Twitter with members of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party contributing in its proliferation.[15][18][19][20] In response, ISupportDeepika was floated which gained greater traction and by the end of the day, her follower count had increased significantly.[19][21] Actor Varun Dhawan talked about similar calls for boycott of his film Dilwale, and stated that the boycott may hurt the business, so it is used as a scare tactics meant to prevent people from expressing their opinion in public. He supported Deepika in condemning the attacks stating it is wrong to not do it.[22]

On 8 January, social media users pointed out that filmmaker Meghna Gulzar had changed the name and religion of the attackers and their family members in the film.[23] Online news portals Swarajya and[24] OpIndia reported that the name of the attacker who was a Muslim in real life, was changed into a Hindu name "Rajesh", in the film.[17] BJP MP and Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Babul Supriyo called the change deliberate and "absolute hypocrisy".[25] BJP MP from South Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri made calls to public for a boycott of the movie.[25] BJP MP Subramanian Swamy called it a defamation and sought legal action against the makers for this.[17] Mumbai Mirror reported that in the past, filmmakers making films based on real life incidents had the liberty to change the names as well as the storyline in their films.[23] The visit to JNU by Deepika was seen by Mumbai Mirror as the reason for an aggressive stand taken against the film.[23] These claims were debunked by the co-founder of Newslaundry, Abhinandan Sekhri, who had watched a special screening of the film Chhapaak in Delhi. He stated that the claims of the attacker belonging to the Hindu religion were false, since the movie showed him as a Muslim.[17] Journalist Radhika Sharma from PTI reported that Rajesh was the name of Malti's boyfriend. The acid attacker was called Bashir "Babboo" Khan in the film.[17]

Advocate Aparna Bhat, who represented Agarwal in the case fought at Patiala House Courts, pursued legal action against the makers for not mentioning her in the film, "to protect her identity and preserve her integrity".[26][27]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 88% based on 17 reviews, with an average score of 6.7/10.[28] Teo Bugbee of The New York Times reviewed that Chhapaak "succeeds in balancing extremes. It is at once a pleasing and buoyant inspirational story, and a realistic depiction of the brutal aftermath of acid attacks."[29] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express credited the film for portraying "drama without dreaded melodrama" and highlighted Padukone's "solid, realized performance"to be its prime asset.[30] Anna M.M.Vetticad of Firstpost in a mixed review wrote, "The blend Massey achieves is what Chhapaak needed as a whole. Without that, what we are left with are good intentions, a heart in the right place, a major star taking a huge risk with an unorthodox role and a bunch of pluses that somehow do not come together to deliver an immersive experience."[31] Writing for The Hindu, Namrata Joshi summarised that "Padukone's performance and Meghna Gulzar's direction ensure that Chhapaak is like a splash that leaves you misty with emotions, if not entirely drenched".[32] Ankur Pathak of HuffPost labelled it "a quietly-powerful social commentary, a film that never allows you to be comfortable" and considered Padukone's performance to be her career-best.[33]

Uday Bhatia of Mint wrote that it "earnestly highlights a depressingly common horror", adding that it "deals squarely with its subject without quite transcending it".[34] In a mixed review, Anupama Chopra praised Padukone's performance, but added that the film "hovers dangerously close to becoming a public service announcement. The messaging becomes bigger than the movie, which reduces the impact".[35] Conversely, Sukanya Verma of commended Gulzar for documenting "Chhapaak's grim reality barefacedly without losing sight of its character's quiet determination to fight the reasons that make such heinous crimes possible in the first place".[36]


Soundtrack album by
Released14 January 2020[37]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy chronology
The Zoya Factor
External audio
audio icon Official Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The film's music is composed by Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy while lyrics are written by Gulzar.

Track listing
1."Nok Jhok"Siddharth Mahadevan3:58
2."Chhapaak – Title Track"Arijit Singh4:39
3."Khulne Do"Arijit Singh2:40
4."Sab Jhulas Gaya"Arijit Singh1:24
Total length:12:41

Box office[edit]

Chhapaak earned 4.77 crore at the domestic box office on its opening day. On the second day, the film collected 6.90 crores. On the third day, the film collected 7.35 crore, taking a total opening weekend collection to 19.02 crore.[3]

As of 7 February 2020, with a net of 40.57 crore in India and 14.87 crore overseas, the film has a worldwide collection of 55.44 crore.[3]

The movie failed to attract enough audience.[38] Film trade analyst Girish Johar said that this is because the movie was not an entertaining film but because it appeals to "a very limited audience".[39]


Award Year Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
AACTA Awards November 30, 2020 Best Asian Film Meghna Gulzar and Deepika Padukone Nominated [40]
Filmfare Awards March 27, 2021 Best Actress Deepika Padukone Nominated [41]
Best Lyricist Gulzar (For Chhapaak) Won
Best Music Director Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy Nominated
Best Costume Design Abilasha Sharma Nominated


Followіng the fіlm's release, the state of Uttarakhand announced a new pensіon scheme for acіd attack survіvors.[42][43][44]


  1. ^ "Chhapaak (2020)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Chhapaak - Box Office India". Box Office India. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d "Chhapaak Box Office". Bollywood Hungama. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Vikrant Massey to star opposite Deepika Padukone in film based on Laxmi Agarwal, it's called Chhapaak". Times Now. 19 December 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Deepika Padukone tears up at 'Chhapaak' trailer launch, calls it career's most special film". The Economic Times. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  6. ^ Baddhan, Raj (7 April 2017). "BizAsia | Media, Entertainment, Showbiz, Brit, Events and Music".
  7. ^ "Prep for Deepika Padukone's Chhapaak begins, Meghna Gulzar shares first photo, check pic". Daily News and Analysis. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Deepika Padukone's Chhapaak begins, director Meghna Gulzar shares first pic". Hindustan Times. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  9. ^ Dore, S dhalini (9 January 2020). "Bollywood Film 'Chhapaak' Makes Serious Splash". Variety. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Deepika's next 'Chhapaak' is a story of undying human spirit". The Times of India. 25 March 2019. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b Hungama, Bollywood (8 January 2020). "REVEALED: Meet the actor who plays Basheer Khan, the acid attacker in Chhapaak : Bollywood News – Bollywood Hungama". Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  12. ^ "विरोध के बीच Film 'Chapaak' Madhya Pradesh और Chhattisgarh में हुई Tax Free | Apna MP". News 18. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  13. ^ Pandey, Sumit (9 January 2020). "एमपी-छत्तीसगढ़ में 'छपाक' टैक्स फ्री, भाजपा नेता ने कहा- दीपिका का काम नाचने का है, वे वही करें". Dainik Bhaskar (in Hindi). Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  14. ^ "'Chhapaak' declared tax-free in Rajasthan". The Week. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Deepika Padukone shows up at JNU protest, sparks Twitter calls for boycott of 'Chhapaak'". The Print. 8 January 2020. Archived from the original on 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Bollywood A-lister backs protesting students, faces boycott calls". Reuters. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  17. ^ a b c d e Pooja Chaudhuri, AltNews in (9 January 2020). "No, Deepika Padukone's 'Chhapaak' does not portray Muslim acid attack convict as Hindu named Rajesh". Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  18. ^ "After #BoycottChhapaak, Offers To Sponsor Movie Tickets Flood Twitter". Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Curious Case of Deepika Padukone Gaining Twitter Followers After #BoycottChhapaak Trends". News18. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  20. ^ "In a bid to #BoycottChhapaak, many trolls tweet cancelled movie tickets – for exactly the same seats". 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  21. ^ Team Koimoi (8 January 2020). "#ISupportDeepika Dominates #BoycottChhapaak As Twitterati Hail Deepika Padukone's Big Step". Koimoi. Archived from the original on 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  22. ^ ""Tactics To Scare": Varun Dhawan On 'Boycott Chhapaak', Deepika Padukone". 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  23. ^ a b c "Chhapaak finds itself in a new controversy, director Meghna Gulzar trolled over changing acid attacker's religion". Mumbai Mirror. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  24. ^ "OpIndia: Hate speech, vanishing advertisers, and an undisclosed BJP connection". 23 June 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Fact check: Did Chhapaak change attacker's religion, name him Rajesh?". Hindustan Times. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  26. ^ "'Chhapaak': Laxmi Agarwal's lawyer to take legal action against the makers of the Deepika Padukone starrer". The Times of India. 9 January 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Lawyer Who Represented Acid Attack Survivor Laxmi Agarwal May Sue Chhapaak Makers". 9 January 2020. Retrieved 9 January 2020 – via NDTV.
  28. ^ "Chhapaak (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  29. ^ Bugbee, Teo (10 January 2020). "Chhapaak Review: Life and Activism After an Acid Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  30. ^ Gupta, Shubhra (9 January 2020). "Chhapaak movie review: Deepika Padukone delivers a solid, realised performance". The Indian Express. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  31. ^ "Chhapaak movie review: Deepika Padukone's acid attack saga has its moments, but not enough". Firstpost. 9 January 2020.
  32. ^ Joshi, Namrata (10 January 2020). "'Chhapaak' movie review: An emotional force". The Hindu. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  33. ^ Pathak, Ankur (9 January 2020). "'Chhapaak' Movie Review: Deepika Padukone Delivers Her Career Best In This Quietly Powerful Drama". HuffPost. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  34. ^ Bhatia, Uday (10 January 2020). "Film review: 'Chhapaak' earnestly highlights a depressingly common horror". Mint. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  35. ^ Chopra, Anupama (10 January 2020). "Chhapaak Movie Review: Despite Deepika Padukone's Strong Performance, The Film Doesn't Feel Urgent Enough". Film Companion. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  36. ^ Verma, Sukanya (10 January 2020). "Chhapaak review". Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  37. ^ "Chhapaak – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Jio Saavn. 14 January 2020.
  38. ^ "3 Reasons Why Chhapaak Has Been Rejected by the Audience & No It's Not #BoycottChhapaak Trend". 15 January 2020.
  39. ^ "Deepika Padukone's Chhapaak not a flop, trade says 'it found its target audience'". 28 January 2020.
  40. ^ "Winners & Nominees". Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  41. ^ "Winners of the 66th Vimal Elaichi Filmfare Awards 2021". Filmfare. 28 March 2021. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Chhapaak impact: Uttarakhand to start a pension scheme for acid attack survivors". India Today. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  43. ^ "Deepika Padukone's 'Chhapaak' inspires Uttarakhand to start a pension scheme for acid attack survivors". The Times of India. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  44. ^ "Uttarakhand announces pension for acid attack survivors in state after release of 'Chhapaak'". The New Indian Express. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 12 January 2020.

External links[edit]