In case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you’ve by now surmised that Meghna Gulzar’s Chhapaak is about acid attacks and how it narrows down its root cause to its easy availability. At one point Amol (played by Vikrant Massey) can be heard saying how acid costs less than aerated drinks in India. Used for a variety of domestic as well as industrial chores, it was survivor Laxmi Agarwal’s PIL that triggered change and now acid attacks have a section of its own under the IPC: Section 326A, with a minimum term of 10 years which could be extended to life imprisonment based on the crime.
The judiciary also stressed on the regulation of the sale of acid through local vendors. To check out the ground reality, the team behind Chhapaak (led by co-producer and lead actor Deepika Padukone) tried to buy acid from local vendors and see how many of them are aware of the regulations required during the sale of acid. The team planted actors, who went in playing different kinds of characters (plumber, husband, college kid, drunk man).
Not that anyone was surprised at the completely unregulated sale of acid, but what really surprised the team was a shopkeeper’s recommendation for ‘something strong’ that burns the human skin. Only one or two shopkeepers asked for an ID proof, before not going through with the sale. In the case of the majority of the vendors, even though they asked the purpose of buying, they couldn’t bothered about the regulatory aspects of making the sale.
Towards the end of the video, the rules and regulations are read out. All shopkeepers must ask for an ID and address proof from the people buying acid, and it is required to provide the names of the buyers to the local police station. None of which seems to be happening today. If Meghna Gulzar’s film does (at the very least) make both buyer and seller aware of the need to stick to regulations, it could mean a win.