Deepika Padukone, who is known for her remarkable roles in hit films, will star as acid attack survivor in Meghna Gulzar's next, yet to be titled film. The actor, who will also be producing the film, will play the role of Laxmi Agarwal. The Bollywood diva reveals her need to go beyond, personally and creatively.
"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," Deepika said in a statement.
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It was in 2005, Delhi, when Laxmi was attacked while she was waiting at a bus stop in Delhi, by a man known to her family and an unlikely suitor whose advances she had declined, according to the release.
The upcoming film showcases Laxmi's life's journey after her attack spanning 10 years. The game-changing PIL in the Supreme Court inspired the amendment on acid laws in 2013.
Meghna, however, said that in spite of the regulation on the sale of acid and changes in legislation regarding acid attacks, the ground reality is still very grim.
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"Acid violence is a very prevalent danger even today. Medical treatment, compensation, rehabilitation and inclusion of acid attack survivors are still very real challenges.
"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," Gulzar said.
The role is emotionally and physically challenging, the director said and is confident that Deepika would do justice to the character and the story.
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"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," Meghna said.
Deepika last worked in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's blockbuster Padmaavat.