By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | March 03, 2020

Rating: 3 / 5

The essence: What’s right with Thappad? Nothing, except for the last scene where the maid slaps her husband in retaliation and puts him in place. Now, that is a Thappad worth the price of a ticket!

What’s wrong with Thappad?
Plenty. For starters, an educated girl, married to the one she loves, leaves everything behind, even her own interests, and becomes a maid (read slave) to her husband. Mind you, nowhere in the film is the husband shown as demanding or demeaning the other gender. But this woman here (Amrita) played by Taapsee Pannu makes no bones about the fact that she is available 24×7 for her husband’s needs. Mind you again, her husband (Vikram) played by Pavail Gulati is not incapacitated!

Yet, like a robot, she wakes up on the dot, picks up the milk bottles from outside her door with the daily newspaper, makes the morning tea, with lemon grass (grown outside her window) and ginger, serves her mother-in-law (no, she is not incapacitated either), then rushes to wake up her husband with tea and snacks on a tray. She then moves down to keep breakfast ready and daily runs after him, with a flask, his bag and his wallet. I mean,  C’mon, if you are displaying yourself to be a doormat, what do you expect?

Get a life, wife! Make use of the education given to you by your parents and learn to earn respect. I’m not saying that a wife like this deserves to be slapped. All I am saying is why would an educated woman behave in this manner? Can’t a husband take his wallet or pick up his flask? Does he need his wife to run after him daily like a pet dog, wagging its tail? Men should correct their wives if they behave in this manner and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Our mother’s were these wives; most in that generation had no choice but to take care of the home as husbands were the breadwinners.

What’s right with Thappad?
Nothing, except for the last scene where the maid slaps her husband in retaliation and puts him in place. Now, that is a Thappad worth the price of a ticket!

Anubhav Sinha known for his hard-hitting topics goes overboard in showing the woman as the victim in Thappad. Yes, the woman has been wronged. Yes, no husband has a right to raise his hand on his spouse. But, Vikram is not a bad man. Anubhav has shown him as this loving gentleman who does care for his wife. Yes, he is not demonstrative, but when he realises he has done something wrong, he does whatever he can to bring peace. But Amrita wants a divorce and then things get ugly!

Yes, another thing that is right about Thappad is the path of truth which Amrita takes to get her divorce: she won’t lie and does not want anything from her husband, other than a divorce. Now, that is a shining light; of someone willing to fight with nothing but the truth!

So what makes Thappad work?
The mind-blowing performances of every actor: the performances are clean, neat and crisp. Ram Kapoor brings that little hint of evil with subtle charm. Maya Saroa is a winner all the way as Nethra the lawyer. Tough, soft, vulnerable, ‘won’t take bullshit’, she is all this persona rolled into one and executes every nuance of her emotion with delectable ease. Manav Kaul is around for just three scenes but leaves an impact showing what a class actor he is. Geetika Vidya’s transformation as an abused housemaid is complete. You could easily mistake her for your neighbourhood domestic help. Ankur Rathee and Naila Grewal are both brilliant as they balance out their relationship on the background of Amrita’s stubbornness.

Dia Mirza as a single mother who lives next door to Amrita leaves an indelible mark underlining the importance of a good husband as she tries to imbibe values into her 13-year-old daughter. Taapsee Pannu could have done better. After the slap, she has this morose, neutral look which she carries all throughout. There’s no fire in her performance. On the other hand, Pavail Gulati is all fire.

Anubhav portrays his character of what a husband should be. No, I’m not condoning the slap. Gulati shines in every frame, even if he is just smoking a cigarette in the balcony. The manner in which he tries to stub his cigarette and blow the smoke away with his hands, when his wife comes to meet him, shows immense respect. Yes, he is pushed to file wrong petitions, after he tries his best to get his wife back. Yes, he understands that he never said sorry to his wife and just let the incident be. And that is what hurt Amrita more than the slap!

Watching Gulati in every scene is a joy to behold. His body language and dialogue delivery with just the right emotions in his voice make for terrific artistry.

Should you watch Thappad?
Of course, it is a lesson for both the man and woman, especially for the woman of how not to be a doormat wife!

Producer: Anubhav Sinha, Krishan Kumar
Director: Anubhav Sinha
Star Cast: Taapsee Pannu , Pavail Gulati, Dia Mirza, Maya Sarao, Kumud Mishra, Ratna Pathak, Ram Kapoor, Manav Kaul

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