Meghna Gulzar in an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla opens up on Deepika Padukone playing an acid attack survivor in Chhapaak, if she was her first choice and more. Read on.

Director Meghna Gulzar and Deepika Padukone's first collaborating, Chhapaak, is one of the most anticipated movies for next year. The movie based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal is scheduled for a January 10 release next year and will also see Vikrant Massey playing a pivotal role. The team recently wrapped up shooting for the movie and in an exclusive interview with PINKVILLA, Meghna Gulzar, who last directed Raazi, revealed that the idea for Chhapaak emerged while she did Talvar. 

"I had the idea (for Chhapaak) after I did Talvar and then I met Laxmi in 2016, and I spent a year talking with her along with my writer Atika Chohan. We worked together on the script but as that happened, Raazi came together, so Raazi happened first but amid this, Atika and I were developing the script and talking to Laxmi, putting things together since 2016. Once Raazi got over, I thought it would be the right time to take the script on and bring it alive," Meghna said. 

When asked if Deepika was always the first choice to play Laxmi aka Malti, Meghna exclaimed, "I would be lying if I would say that Deepika was not always a part of the film," and added, "I mean it was like this unsaid and unspoken wish which both Atika and I had. We have seen pictures of how Laxmi looked like before the attack and I found an uncanny similarity to Deepika, but you know, at that time, we were like we are letting our imaginations go wild, I don't think Deepika would give this thought a moment because it is just too radical, but it was a thought we silently nurtured in our hearts."

She continued, "Once Raazi happened, I was also working on another script, but I knew that film will be longer in the making as it requires a tremendous amount of research. So, this film looked like it could be made first. And in the spur of the moment, I called for a meeting with Deepika because somewhere subconsciously we wanted her to do the movie. She completely took me by surprise by agreeing to it."

Revealing that Deepika wanted to do something light at that moment, Meghna shared, "Actually, she was looking to do something light as she had done three intense movies before that, but what I had was a polar opposite to what she wanted to do. That is why I was doubly surprised when she said that I had put her in a fix as she wanted something light, but now, she wanted to do the movie."

Lastly, while praising Deepika for having immersed herself in the role completely, Meghna mentioned, "I really think it takes a tremendous amount of grounding of yourself to be able to get out of your skin and be able to completely immerse yourself into someone else's skin. She completely shed off things as we know of her as Deepika Padukone, the face, the brand, the actor. She shed it all to play this part. That takes a lot of grit."

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