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A Slap Is A Big Deal! 

2 stars

Mini Review:

The movie should come with trigger warning for women who are suffering all kinds of abuse, physical as well as emotional abuse. Even though it tapers down to a tame end, this film raises many important question: how much abuse is too much abuse? Tapsee Pannu makes another great choice, supported brilliantly by the rest of the cast. If only a woman had written the ending…

Main Review:

This is the story of a housewife who leads a very comfortable life, is looking to move to London, loves her husband and mother in law, loved by parents as well. Her life comes undone when at a party her husband slaps her in a fit of anger. It is uncharacteristic for him as well as it is for her. How he reacts and how everyone else around this happy household reacts is stunning to her because she realises with that one slap, that she’s no better than the maid who gets slapped by her husband every day.

She chooses to step out of her comfort zone and everything comes unraveled. Only her father offers her unflinching support. Everyone else tells her, ‘It’s just a slap.’

I will let you watch the film because you will find yourself taking sides with so many people in the film:
‘What’s the big deal?’
‘People slap only because they love so much.’
‘He bought her a diamond bracelet afterwards na to say sorry! Phir bhi problem hai!’
‘I was angry! But you should have not tried to pull me away.’
‘Women need to learn to compromise.’
‘You be the big person, you learn to forgive.’

Superb performances by Kumud Mishra who is fabulous as the thoughtful and kind father, Ratna Pathak Shah as the conflicted mother, but the best performance (even better than Tapsee Pannu, in my humble opinion) is the performance by Geetika Vaidya who plays the maid. 

The maid is a brilliant foil to her memsaab. She’s sassy, but gets slapped around all the time. She is kind and sensitive (her, ‘Can I oil your head’ made me weep in the darkness of the theater), and as she watches the memsaab go through a tough choice in her life, is transformed to a person who can stand up for herself. The character has been written brilliantly.

The lawyer’s character (played by Maya Sarao) seems rather good. A woman who has a man friend on the side because she’s in a crappy marriage where she gets no credit as a professional also tapers off tamely when she says goodbye to her young friend.  

The only thing that made me grit my teeth is the really easy way out of a problem called Taapsee is to get her pregnant. 

The last melodramatic scene of the puja for the child and her gently telling her mother in law that she was mad at everyone for not ‘taking her side’ in that long give-me-an-award speech is just written because they did not find any real conclusion for the ‘problem’ … This is where I would suggest the filmmakers ASK a women, several women for that matter as to what they would do. 

So after taking me on a high with this slap on patriarchy, they reduce the woman who makes that dent into the system into becoming a ‘mother’.

It was as lame a conclusion as the fake ‘woke’ opening credits where everyone put their mother’s names as their middle names. Bah!

P.S: No point writing about the men’s roles played competently because those are ordinary everyday men in real life. Anyone can play them. 


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