Deepika Padukone, in her next Bollywood outing, will play the role of an acid attack survivor. Directed by Meghna Gulzar, the movie will mark Padukone’s debut as a producer.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) October 5, 2018
Padukone, who was last seen in this year’s Padmaavat, will be portraying the role of Laxmi Agarwal. Faced with an acid attack at the age of 15, Agarwal took to helping other acid attack victims and also spreading awareness about such violent attacks on women. Her being the recipient of the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2014 from the then First Lady of United States, Michelle Obama, had also made news.
Meghna Gular, who directed this year’s Raazi, said that Agarwal’s story would help bring awareness to the society. Talking to Mumbai Mirror, she said: “Using Laxmi’s story as a lens, we are attempting to explore these aspects and the consequences of acid-related violence in our society. This is what makes this must-told story relevant. Awareness is the first step towards change.”
Padukone explained her decision to turn producer with the particular project. “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,”
Regarding casting Padukone, Meghna Gulzar said: “I was instinctively convinced that Deepika would do justice to the character and the story. Also, 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.”
A few weeks earlier, reports of Laxmi Agarwal falling on hard times were doing the rounds. According to a Hindustan Times report, the acid attack survivor was under the threat of being evicted from her residence as she couldn’t afford the rent. Agarwal, the article said, has also been without a job for a year, and has a three-year-old daughter to support.
Meanwhile, Gulzar also has a series based on the life of former Mumbai city police commissioner Rakesh Maria in the pipeline. Best known for solving the Mumbai serial blasts case and investigating the 26/11 attacks, the series on Maria’s life will be produced by Madhu Mantena under the Phantom Films banner.
Taut files of a top cop! An original series on the life and case files of former Mumbai CP, #RakeshMaria. Excited to be telling these stories with @RelianceEnt @FuhSePhantom & #MadhuMantenahttps://t.co/9rnaYoaOP9 pic.twitter.com/VLpYJRanKw
— Meghna Gulzar (@meghnagulzar) August 6, 2018