Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone recently shared her first look from her upcoming film, 'Chhapaak'. For the uninitiated, the film is a biopic that is based on an acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal who braved all odds and stood strong despite all hardships.
From dealing with the horrific event to being financially independent and being an inspiration to all acid attack survivors in India, here's all you need to know about Laxmi, the real hero who inspired this film.
Laxmi was born to a middle-class family in Delhi and was just like any other teenager growing up in the city. However, on one fateful day of 2005, the 15-year-old's life changed when a man twice her age attacked her and threw a bottle of acid on her face as she had rejected his advances and was not interested in him.
“After the attack, I was admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and stayed there for nearly 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. I used to have a scar on my nose before the attack; I would tell the doctor to remove that during the operation. When I first saw my face afterwards, I was devastated. I had no face to speak of. My eyes were misshapen,” she had told PTI
After the incident, the then-teenager had to undergo multiple surgeries and it was then when she started her campaign for acid attack survivors.
After the attack, Laxmi decided to carry out an extensive campaign against the sale of acid in India and for offering affordable treatment to the survivors. She also filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Supreme Court a year after the attack along with another acid attack survivor named Rupa. The petition filed by her demanded the passage of a new law that would deal with the acid attacks, besides framing of rules for compensation to the survivor. She also sought a complete ban on the sale of acid across the country citing the number of such horrific attacks that had taken place in the last couple of years.
In July 2013, she won her battle in court when the Judges issued a set of new restrictions on the sale of acid, which included a ban on sale to minors and furnishing a photo identity proof before buying it. During this time, she also became an inspiration to many other acid attack survivors and launched a new initiative called 'Shoot Acid'.
In 2014, Laxmi fell in love with social activist, Alok Dixit. The two challenged the society by not getting married and deciding to be in a live-in relationship. The now estranged couple also have a beautiful daughter named Pihu.
As of now, Laxmi is often seen giving TEDx talks and is also a well-known motivational speaker. In 2014, she also received the Women Courage Award by Michelle Obama. Deepika Padukone's film based on her inspirational story is all set to release on 10th January 2020.
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