Deepika Padukone will be playing the role of an acid attack survivor in Meghna Gulzar’s next directorial venture, which the actor will also be producing. The 32-year-old will play the role of Laxmi Agarwal in the yet to be titled film.
“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. It made such an impact on me, that personally and creatively, I needed to go beyond and so the decision to turn producer,” Padukone said in a statement.
In 2005, while Agarwal was waiting at a bus stop in Delhi, she was attacked by an assailant, a man twice her age, known to her family and a suitor whose advances she had declined.
The film showcases Agarwal’s journey after her attack spanning 10 years. A significant part of the story is the game-changing public interest litigation in the Supreme Court that inspired the amendment on acid laws in 2013.
Gulzar said in spite of regulation on the sale of acid and changes in legislation regarding acid attacks, the ground reality is still very grim.
“Acid violence is a very prevalent danger even today. Medical treatment, compensation, rehabilitation and inclusion of acid attack survivors are still very real challenges,” she said. “Using Laxmi’s story as a lens, we are attempting to explore these aspects and consequences of acid violence in our society. This is what makes this story relevant and one that must be told. Because if anything, awareness is the first step towards change,” she said.
The Raazi director added that the role is emotionally and physically challenging and she is confident that Padukone will do justice to the character and the story.
“Her physicality matched with what I’d imagined for Laxmi’s character. I’m grateful and encouraged that she was so spontaneous in her decision to do the film. When you take a face as beautiful as hers and portray her as an acid attack survivor, the magnitude of the violence and damage is that much more resounding,” Gulzar said.