Director: Anubhav Sinha
We live in different times now. Modern times where women enjoy equality, freedom and a lack of gender stereotyping. Being a woman no longer takes sacrifices.
What if we told you that the whole concept is make-believe, a complete farce? In reality, the human brain is tuned to tolerate, more specifically not even acknowledge a certain amount of sexism. We are so used to living in a man’s world that we need movies like these to remind us that we might have come far but there is so much further left to go.
When Ammu aka Amrita (played by Taapsee Pannu) is slapped by her husband in a house party for no fault of her own, but just an act of frustration, her whole happy married life is shaken. Though she tries to get past it, she is unable to find love or meaning that she once found in her marriage.
She finally decides to file a divorce. “You want to divorce for a slap? A single slap? It has never happened before, it was an outcome at the heat of the moment, and you are being silly!”
Travel with the slap and the movie, as it takes you to different shades, variation, and layers of casual sexism that we have been toned to get used to, to let go off, and to forget. How a single slap echoes and makes different women realise what they are allowing to happen to them, be it the perfect housewife or a powerful lawyer to a cheerful house help and a curious 13-year-old. How fragments of these women are lost, little by little, how they are stripped off their respect, how easily they sacrifice, and how much they have “let go” and are systematically built to not create a “fuss”.
The movie also touches upon how important parenting is. Being a man gives you privileges that are unfortunately imparted by women that have brought them up. A boy who needs his bag, and lunch box rushed to him by his mother to his school bus grows up to a man who needs everything from his wallet, to keys brought to him by his wife at the doorstep.
If you walk out of the movie unable to relate to even a single dialogue, if throughout your existence of being a woman you haven’t been called; psychotic, obsessive, stubborn, spoilt, over-emotional, attitude issues, egoistic, drama queen, etc then, wow, consider yourself extremely privileged. After watching scores and scores of films that romanticise slaps, it is so refreshing to finally have a film do the justification needed to stop normalising toxic masculinity and domestic violence.
Taapsee Pannu’s commendable acting is catalysed by an equally brilliant performance from all the ladies of the movie; Dia Mirza, Maya Sarao, and the excellent Geetika Vidya Ohlyan.
The whole movie delivers a strong message- (clear as a slap if I may say) clearly and in the most subtle, calm way possible. “You don’t disrespect a woman. It is not done. No conditions applied’.”
Verdict: A brilliant film which is the ultimate need of the hour!