An Indian movie based on the true story of an acid attack victim is set to hit screens next year, featuring Deepika Padukone, one of Bollywood’s biggest stars.
The release of “Chhapaak,” which translates to “Splash” in Hindi, marks the first time a mainstream Indian movie has tackled the subject of acid attacks.
The movie is based on the true story of Laxmi Agarwal, who was disfigured by an acid attack in 2014 when she was just 15 years old, after rejecting the advances of a man twice her age.
In 2016, 206 acid attacks were recorded, according to figures from India’s National Crime Record Bureau. In most cases, women were attacked for spurning advances from men.
In a sneak preview of the movie, posted on Instagram, Padukone revealed a disfigured face.
Malti, the young woman she plays in the film, is “a character that will stay with me forever,” said Padukone in her post.
This first look at the movie surprised fans, and social media users praised Padukone’s transformation.
“She is courage. She is hope. She is Deepika Padukone as #Malti in#Chhapaak, said one Twitter user.
“When I heard this story, I was deeply moved as it’s not just one of violence but of strength and courage, hope and victory.” -@deepikapadukone DP’s first look as Malti is simply WOW. I’m super duper excited for#Chhapaak! Wishing you all the very best for the film!,” another fan tweeted.
Since her attack, Agarwal has campaigned for stricter regulation of acid sales in India. She has walked the runway for New York Fashion Week, delivered a TEDx talk and received the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award from Michelle Obama.
Padukone, 33, is the highest-earning actress to feature in Forbes list of top 100 Indian celebrities.
Padukone starred alongside Vin Diesel in her 2017 Hollywood debut, “XXX: Return of Xander Cage.”
“Chhapaak” is scheduled for release January 10, 2020.