Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad, starring Taapsee Pannu in the lead role, is one of the best films to have come out in recent times.
Serving the perfect response to patriarchy, Thappad is a must-watch, that boasts of phenomenal performances by the entire star cast, and a gripping, relevant, and original storyline.
But a scene that I’ve been unable to forget, ever since I first saw the film, is Amrita’s father Sachin Sandhu’s conversation with Vikram, after Vikram hits Amrita.
When Vikram slaps Amrita at their party, Sachin Sandhu is undoubtedly angry and hurt at seeing his daughter being ill-treated.
However, when Vikram attempts to reconcile with a reluctant Amrita, Sachin Sandhu steps in – not to threaten or shout at Vikram. But rather, to force him to introspect.
He questions Vikram because he wants Vikram to understand why hitting his wife was even a possibility.
It’s a brilliant, highly impactful moment that attempts to change the narrative and shift the blame where it’s supposed to be – on the perpetrators and their internalized patriarchy.
Because it’s not just about raising independent women. It’s also about stripping men of an undeserving sense of entitlement, that manifests and attacks women in multiple ways.
The only way to dismantle patriarchy is to go to the root cause and force people to confront their own flawed belief systems.
Like Sandhya does when she reminds Sachin that he too, at one point, failed to treat his wife as an equal.
Like Vikram’s boss does at the end. He holds a mirror to Vikram’s toxic masculinity and misogyny with a simple question – if Vikram could not comprehend the idea of hitting his boss, then why was he able to do so with his wife?
And yet, Vikram’s boss gets the apology, while his wife is served baseless allegations in an ugly divorce battle.
Multiple moments like these are what makes Thappad such a fine film – because it not only showcases the insidious effects of patriarchy on our society but also attempts a solution at how to change things. We need to question people and push them to confront their own flawed views, and change for the better.
It may appear simplistic, but it is at least a step in the right direction. Conversations, introspection, and a willingness to learn and be better are essential for changing the world and making it more equal and fair.