Chhapaak… Story of Laxmi Agarwal

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Laxmi Agarwal a Name that has been lingering on the Internet from 5 March when Deepika’s Look for the Meghna Gulzar Directorial Film Chhapaak released. Deepika posted the Look on her Instagram Account

So the Question Arises Who is Laxmi Agarwal, and why is her Story so important that the Queen of Bollywood is set to break her Hiatus with her Biopic.

The Answer to that is long. So sit back and Read.

Laxmi Agarwal as portrayed by the Media is ‘The Acid attack survivor who went on to get Justice against her Assaulters and now speaks for the rights of acid attack victims’.

But that is Wrong, Laxmi is a lot more than her Acid Attack She is a Mother, a Daughter, a Social Worker, a Citizen who didn’t back down and after everything a Beautiful lady.

Laxmi Is Born..

Laxmi Agarwal Before Acid AttackLaxmi first brought Joy to the Agarwal family on 1st June 1990 when the Middle-Class Family welcomed a Beautiful girl. As a normal Middle-Class family in India are Laxmi was brought up among Values and Social Norms. Though her Mother always Supported Laxmi’s dreams and Aspirations to reach the Sky one Day. Laxmi was a talented singer and Hoped to sing Playback one day. A dream that is shared by millions, but had Fate that is Unique to Laxmi.

Acid Attack on Laxmi..

It was 2005. A 15-year-old Laxmi had constantly been stalked Naeem Khan a 32-year-old Man. He had been irritating and threatening her for quite some time. Naeem wanted to marry Laxmi but, Laxmi had rebuked his offers.

It was then on a fateful morning of 2005 when Laxmi was on her way to a bookstore in Khan Market, Naeem waylaid her. Laxmi tried to skim off his advances, but he was Adamant. Finally, after a small scuffle, Naeem splashed a beaker of Acid on Laxmi’s face.

Laxmi lay on the road in agony screaming in pain, until finally a Taxi driver stopped and rushed her to the nearby Safdarjung hospital.

Laxmi underwent intensive treatment and Surgeries to cure herself.

Laxmi Agarwal after acid attack

Laxmi recalled in an interview with Daily Mail, “I felt as if someone had set my whole body on fire. The skin was just coming off; it was like dripping, from my hands, and from my face.”

She had to undergo multiple surgeries and other procedures for three months. “There were no mirrors in the ward I was in. Every morning, the nurse would bring me a bowl of water to help me freshen up and I would try to catch my reflection in that water. I would only see glimpses of a bandaged face… When I first saw my face afterwards, I was devastated. I had no face to speak of,” she told a news website.

The Struggle after the Attack..

This Changed her Life. She was no longer the Sweet 15year old girl who aspired to become a singer. She had now become a Media Victim. Laxmi’s Life was changed. Her agony was now being publicized but not helped to be avenged.

Laxmi did not lose hope though. In 2006 she filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court and sought a total ban on the sale of acid. In 2013, the court ruled in favour of her plea and imposed restrictions on the sale of acid.

Laxmi became the Voice and Face of the Protest against Acid attack Survivors in India. She received many accolades for her Fearless campaigns. The most notable of them all was the honour by former First Lady Michelle Obama with the International Women of Courage Award.

Laxmi with US First lady Michelle Obama.
Laxmi with US First lady Michelle Obama.

“I was scared to walk up to her. But she smiled at me and hugged me after the presentation. It was the Bet and the proudest day of my life” Laxmi later narrated to a magazine.

Her campaigns finally bore fruit when in 7th October 2013 when Delhi High court finally prosecuted Naeem Khan in Naeem Khan @ Guddu vs State trial.

He was convicted under IPC 307 attempt to murder and sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment.

It was done. Laxmi had won and the felonious Villain was behind bars.

A Speck of light in the Darkness.

While her campaigns to STOP ACID ATTACKS, Laxmi found love. Alok Dixit a fellow social activist had fallen in Love with Laxmi.

Alok saw beyond her looks and fell in love with Laxmi’s heart. They began a relationship and after some time moved in together, opting out of the conventional marriage route.

“We are challenging the society by not getting married. We don’t want people to come to our wedding and comment on my looks,” she said in an interview.

“I feared the sight of me would scare her… All she did was snuggle up, and go to sleep” Acid attack survivor Laxmi

The happy couple was blessed with a little angel Pihu soon. But again all was not well for Laxmi. Alok and Laxmi had differences and decided to part ways.

This plunged Laxmi into financial crises. She was struggling to make ends meet.

In an interview with a leading publication last year, she said, “So many people offered me jobs on reading the news and I am very thankful to them. News has a very short shelf life and after some time, it holds no value. But I want the government to offer me a job as I have to support my mother as well as my daughter. I have to bring her up single-handedly.”

She had lost her Love but not her Motivation.

People think I am a star, I have even witnessed a girl going down on her knees in the metro saying, “Your place is not here, your place is in our hearts.” I tell them that if I will not be among people, how will people know me. Why do you need to look at me like a celebrity? We lose ourselves under these spotlights. I have nothing. I don’t have my own house. Just appearing on TV shows and being in news doesn’t make me a star.

Where Is Laxmi now?

Laxmi, along with other acid attack survivors started a hunger strike demanding immediate justice and rehabilitation for acid attack survivors.

She has written a poem describing what she has gone through.

Laxmi with her daughter Pihu and (right) with director Meghna Gulzar
Laxmi with her daughter Pihu and (right) with director Meghna Gulzar

Her Take on the Biopic?

Laxmi expressed to a daily “I believe art is art. I am so happy that Deepika is playing the role. I have no right to judge her. How can I judge someone for something which I can’t do? She has played wonderful characters on screen and I believe she will give her best. I want to thank Deepika Ji, Meghna Ji and the entire team who will be working together on the film. I am glad that the movie will spread awareness and will help people who are victims of such incidents to come out of it. They will get inspired that if she can do it then why not us.”

Laxmi Agarwal

We hope Laxmi is given her due credit in this Biopic. Deepika and Meghna Gulzar are the Best in Bollywood. And we are sure they will do Justice to Laxmi ‘s Character and her Brave and Incredible story”

So, what did You think of Laxmi’s Story? Did it inspire you? Do you think Deepika can pull it off in the Biopic? Do you think Meghna Gulzar is the best Choice? Please let us know in the Comments below.

And always Remember, Beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder.

Ciao.