Known for directing strong female characters in her films, Meghna Gulzar has a problem with labeling of films as "women-centric". The director, who was speaking at the trailer launch of her upcoming film Chhapaak, has urged people to not categorise her movie into any particular genre.
Chhapaak, starring Deepika Padukone, is based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. The director believes that her films are a lot more than just being stories about women.
"I have a request that do not categorise Chhapaak into women-centric genre. My stories indeed have stronger female characters unlike other conventional films but they are not the stories only about women. I'm really hoping that my films say a lot more than just being a woman-oriented story," said Meghna.
Meghna's last two films-- Talvar and Raazi-- have dealt with sensitive subjects. While Talvar is based on the 2008 Aarushi Talwar double murder case, Raazi tells the story of a Kashmiri Muslim woman who is married off by her father to a Pakistani Army officer so that she can be a spy for India in Pakistan.
When asked whether she's inclined toward such topics, the director said, "I choose story which resonates with me. I go purely by instinct. I never think like, 'Now I want to make a sensitive film so I will look for a sensitive topic or how will I make it commercial?' I tell a story with as much honesty and authenticity as possible, and whether or not it'll be a commercial film is not in my hand. Nobody sets out to make a failure or a flop film. We all want our films to do well."
Meghna further spoke at length about what impact Chhapaak has had on her life.
"If there's anything that the journey of Chhapaak has taught us is that these girls who are acid survivors do not consider themselves victims. They don't want our sympathy. They are not hesitant to work in our society with their faces open. It is us who are hesitant to meet their gaze and that is what we need to change."
"We have four survivors acting in our film as well. They are playing full-fledged parts, not there just for songs and dance. I think the biggest revelation for me was that our inner strength is so strong that we realise it only when we are faced with an extremely traumatic circumstance. We really don't realise how strong we actually are. That is what I realised with all these girls-- the inner strength that they have used and tapped to overcome the circumstances of life was incredible," she added.
Chhapaak, also featuring Vikrant Massey, is scheduled to release on January 10.
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