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A still form 'Chhapaak' (Photo: PTI)
A still form 'Chhapaak' (Photo: PTI)

Fox Star targets mass market for Deepika Padukone’s ‘Chhapaak’

Fox Star believes the story of real-life acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal’s struggle will resonate with both men and women, across ages and demography, including people in small towns, who face harassment on a daily basis

NEW DELHI : Fox Star Studios is targeting mass Indian audiences for its upcoming drama Chhapaak directed by Meghna Gulzar despite the film’s subject inherently appealing to up-market, discerning multiplex audiences. The film co-produced by actor Deepika Padukone that also stars her in the main lead will see her play real-life acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal who battles it out against all odds.

Clearly, the dark theme alienates a lot of family and children audiences but the studio believes the story of Agarwal’s struggle will resonate with both men and women, across ages and demography, including people in small towns, who face harassment on a daily basis.

As part of the all encompassing marketing campaign, Fox released a video called Malti on the move, a social experiment where Padukone (whose character is named Malti in the film) goes out to stores and supermarkets in the city of Mumbai, with prosthetics and make-up to avoid being recognized. The objective of the video, the makers say, was to see how people react to those with disfigured faces, either acting normal or shunning them completely.

Meeting the twin objectives of reaching out to pan-Indian audiences and making the film seem both authentic and relatable, Padukone and Agarwal have together appeared on the cover of Hindi and English language magazines Grihalakshmi and Femina. Agarwal has also been part of several promotional activities since the first trailer launch.

Padukone has spent the past few days meeting acid attack survivors besides connecting with women across regional language industries. As part of the promotions, her Instagram account shows interactions with people like Punjabi actor Sonam Bajwa, Marathi actor Sonali Kulkarni, and south Indian stars Nithya Menen and Tamannaah Bhatia.

Brand partners for the film include e-health company Medlife and cosmetics company RSH Global. The former launched a campaign as part of which customers can avail a 30% discount on their purchase from the app, and is currently trending as #AbLadnaHai and #BharosaMedlifeKa on various platforms. RSH Global, meanwhile, has launched a new range of skin care products suitable for the sensitive skin of acid attack survivors called JOY Sensitive.

“Making good quality products accessible to all at affordable prices, has been the company’s purpose of existence. Women from economically weak backgrounds often fall prey to acid attacks. Being a mass brand and having in-house infrastructure, research and development, resources and logistics, we thought of developing a special product for them at an affordable price point," Poulomi Roy, chief marketing officer, RSH Global, said in a statement.

Chhapaak and JOY sensitive have seen a co-branded television commercial besides special screenings of the movie for over 200 acid attack survivors, Roy said.

Meanwhile, healthcare financing platform has also tied up with the film, urging donors to support any medical cause on its fundraiser pages. One lucky donor gets a chance to meet Padukone.

Co-starring Vikrant Massey alongside Padukone, Chhapaak is expected to notch up a screen count of 1,000 when compared with 3,500 for Ajay Devgn’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, and 800 for Rajinikanth’s Darbar that it is clashing with at the box office.

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