What The Movie Thappad Tells Us About Domestic Violence

This is not exactly a movie review but an in-depth understanding of domestic violence that the movie talks about.

After I watched the movie, I wanted to read general reviews to see how it did since it was based on a sensitive topic. With feminism spreading more aggressively than before where the patriarchal society is still prevalent, there will be conflicts of opinion.

To be honest, I was hoping to read that most people would be appreciative of the fact that we are now openly talking about such issues that are prevalent even in our modern-day society.

On the other hand, people thought the movie was way over the top. This was exaggerated to feed the already existing orientation towards women and hatred against men.

I am not of the same opinion what the modern day feminism is. More than the fight the for the rights of women it has somehow turned against men. One can easily witness the backlash that the men are getting already.

By that, I don’t mean to imply that the women are not suffering and it’s also not fair to say that men are the only culprit. A news report clearly indicated that 40% of domestic violence victims are men.

These statistics are not exactly average of the world and will vary depending on the country that we are looking at. Women, of course have been the target victim for centuries because our society has been a male dominated attitude.

However, these are not the same times that existed maybe 20-30 years ago. During that era, women were the only primary victims of domestic violence. Not so much anymore.

It’s about time that we realize that it’s not a gender-specific problem anymore. We need to readjust our perception with a more unbiased lens when we are looking at domestic abuse.

What The Movie Thappad Tells Us About Domestic Violence

So, why did the movie Thappad (Slap) get a backlash for portraying an aspect of Domestic violence?

The lead protagonist in the movie, filed for a divorce against her husband because he slapped her. According to her this shattered her belief in their relationship and couldn’t come to terms with.

A slap isn’t a good enough reason for extreme steps and it is not exactly a form of domestic violence.

When you watch the movie, at one point, it is going to appear that going for a divorce for a slap seemed quite aggressive. Let me share some of the thoughts that people expressed on social media and the attitude portrayed in the movie.

It’s just a slap…!

For some reason, a slap just seems like an acceptable form of expression during an emotional outburst. How would you feel if someone just slaps you for not fault of yours?

Forget about it!

OK, we understand it was wrong but there’s no need to prolong the issue for so long. Forgive and forget about it. What’s the point in turning it into an unnecessary drama, it’s not worth it.

Chill, It happens

It happens between people, especially among couples. You have to kiss and make up and then carry on with your life like nothing ever happened. After all, you love each other right?

Move On, already

You have spent a couple of weeks whining about it already. Don’t you think it’s time to move on already? I mean honestly, this cold-silent anger can’t go on forever. We need to focus on our future.

This post isn’t intended to pinch the already sensitive nerve of the male chauvinists out there but just to point out that the problem exists. Unless we accept that there is a problem, it is going to be hard to eradicate some of these issues that plague our society.

So, let’s take a closer look at what the movie tried to point out really. I think the title of the movie and the actual incident would have made one think that it wasn’t a big issue after all.

The Plot

Now, for someone who hasn’t watched the movie and to establish the plot here, the lead protagonist (Tapsee Pannu) is a housewife who has a happy married life. During a celebration party, the husband receives an ill-timed update on his career progress. There was someone else chosen for the promotion that he so desirably pursued and worked hard for.

He loses control and takes it out on his immediate boss who is present in the party, soon the conversation gets out of hands. A bunch of peopple try to control the situation from getting any worse than it already had but fail to bring the volume down.

Pannu, being the wife thought it was best to drag him out of the conversation and clear his head. However, very soon, in the heat of the moment, he slaps her in front of the entire guests present there. Someone drags him out of the scene and apparently he never returns to the moment.

That leaves Pannu in a state of shock while all guests standstill with zip-locked lips. Nobody utters a word. Like a night fall, the party comes to an end without a sound. Still standing in the hall of shame.

The Attitude

Of course, after you go through something like that, it isn’t going to be possible to find yourself in a state of blissful sleep. You stay awake, the whole night, you would clean the mess after the party to channel your anger and devastation. Especially when you realize that the main perpetrator is enjoying a good night’s sleep.

What The Movie Thappad Tells Us About Domestic Violence

To give a benefit of the doubt to the husband, he probably managed to drink more than he would have normally had. With so much rage flowing through his veins punched with alcohol increased blood, he would have possibly blacked out from it.

The continuation of the story happens in the morning, when the husband casually apologizes for the slap. He then goes on complaining about his lost promotion and how he was deceived by his direct boss. That was the defining moment in the wife’s life. The absolute lack of guilt and empathy topped with the attitude which implied that it wasn’t a big deal.

She’s an educated, modern, upper-middle-class woman. It would not have been possibly hard for her to neglect what the world thinks of her, as long as the love of her life would have just apologized to her. Well, mean it when you say it. For once, leave the self-pity and make an honest attempt towards understanding what was going through her mind.

There was a silent story of his own mother who lived separately from her husband. That’s most likely due to his father’s abusive (emotionally) nature leading to some form of domestic violence. We may not like to see it this way, most of our behavior during adulthood comes from childhood conditioning.

The Family and Friends

The husband continued to remain oblivious to the fact that his actions were inappropriate. Whereas the wife constantly went through emotional turbulence and comes to an agreement that she should leave the house for a few weeks to collect herself. For obvious reasons, the conversation of leaving the house doesn’t go well with her husband.

Now staying at her parents house.

Her father, even though appeared to be quite liberal did not really offer a word of advice on what should be the next step. Mother on the other hand, thinks that she should sort this out and things like these happen all the time.

What The Movie Thappad Tells Us About Domestic Violence

Subsequently, her brother also thinks that she is on the verge of destroying her happy family. He in fact, has an ugly argument with her girl friend who had offered support to Pannu. During the conversation, he doesn’t realize that he almost man-handled his girlfriend. Somehow, this form of display of superiority or the power over the weaker sex is sometimes in-built in us men.

Her husband brings an expensive necklace for an apology. He seemed more concerned with what society and friends would think. It implied that he cared even less of what she was going through. His poor attempt at convincing her to go back with him leads to a confrontation where he spurts out words saying that “In his family, women don’t leave their houses for petty issues like these”

As I mentioned earlier, in most cases a lot of our behavior is a result of our conditioning.

His father, brother, and friend think that this was no big issue at all and she doesn’t have any practical reason to stay away from him. As a matter of fact, they consult a legal counsel seeking opinion on what their future options looked like. Coming from a wealthy background, the lawyer guaranteed that they have endless resources to fight this legally.

The Law

The last comment from their recent conversation about women in his family was the final nail in the coffin. It brought a sudden clarification and realization with a moment of epiphany that this is exactly what she was worried about.

She decides to file for a divorce.

She meets a famous lawyer who has several victories under her belt in cases of women empowerment. The lawyer questions the legitimacy of the reason for filing for divorce. Clearly explaining that she isn’t going to win the case on the basis of this and the judge is not going to award the case in her favor. Unless the divorce is sought mutually.

court hammer law

Mutual divorce was not on the cards, in fact, the opponents were willing to go to extreme levels to keep the marriage intact. Regardless of how ugly it gets. Her lawyer’s recommendation was to file a case of domestic violence to gain some ground and leverage. Considering that judges usually show favor towards women, this would be the best possible way to go. Especially because they were willing to get dirty to somehow win the case.

She knew deep inside that it was not exactly the case of domestic violence. What she was fighting for is her honor, self-respect, and principle. It’s certainly not acceptable to think that a slap is an acceptable form of expression in case of an outburst. A woman should be able to live with that, forget, forgive and move on because shit like that happens all the time.

She’s got to look after the family, holds the responsibility to keep things together. This kind of attitude will only destroy families and it was her burden to drag.

The Hypocrisy

The only person that truly understood the pain that Pannu was going through was her house help. She has experienced the form of abuse first hand. One thing that was highly disappointing in the movie was that when she tells this to her at the beginning of the movie, Tapsee didn’t seem to show any adverse reaction towards it.

She almost took that as the casual thing that happens within an underprivileged household. I guess in most we all would normally see it that way, the attitude of accepting such things as a part of the norm in the respective society that we live in.

However, when similar things happen in our lives then we normally have completely different outlook towards the entire situation.

domestic violence in poor families

Almost 35% of domestic violence cases reported come from poor families. Lack of resources, employment issues, limited money and topped up with alcohol drenched male ego – These are the primary reasons for severe domestic violence.

I personally believe that most stats are not accurate because a lot of women do not come forward. There’s always that constant fear that if they don’t get a resolution then they will be forced to live with the abuser with capability to induce far more pain than before.

The psychological pressure of not being accepted as a part of the society in case they get separated. A lot of these women have 3-4 children and fear that there won’t be anyone to provide for them anymore.

The reality

In real life, the situation is far worse than a slap. The overall attitude of men towards women needs a deep cleansing. It appears as if it is not going to wash away from our lives anytime soon. To be realistic, we have lived these set of circumstances for such a long time that this almost seems like a part of us now.

I am not saying that things have not changed, yes they have. There are more women who are standing up against the tyranny. To us, a slap might not look like the worst thing and perhaps maybe it’s not. Without a sincere apology, empathy, and accountability of the action it seems like nothing less than abuse.

Most people thought that this movie was an over-reacted and exaggerated response leading to lower tolerance levels in relationships.

Respect, trust, and love are the three things that act as a pillar in any relationship. Love is the last part, one can probably survive in a loveless marriage. Would it be easy to live with someone in the absence of respect and trust?

I guess not.

The immediate reprisal the audience got back was that men have also been a victim of domestic violence. The situation is equally worse, carrying a sense of pride out in the public, it is harder for men to talk about such things let alone take any actions.

Even if a woman falsely accuses a man, his life is over in less than a heart’s beat. What we need to understand is that this is not a competition, we are not in a race where we’d proudly announce that men share a larger percentage as victims. Give us the medal already!

It’s a Universal Problem

If you think that this disease only exists in India, then you are highly mistaken. It seems like a prominent problem in developing countries, however, countries like USA and UK reports that 1 out 4 women have been victims of physical assault. The situation is no better in Europe as well.

We can implement stricter laws, gruesome punishments and it may mellow the problem for while but not significantly improve it. Let me give you a perspective of why that’s not a solution in a long run. Saudi Arabia, currently has the worst punishment for crime against women.

They have 0.3 cases per 100,000 which are significantly higher considering the intensity of punishments. The fear may last for a while, however, history has proven that when the law gets stricter criminals get better at it.

In India, a shocking figure that blew me over was that over 90% of the rape cases in which the perpetrator was known to the family of the victim. We have all seen the number of cases where relatives have sexually abused girls in the absence of their parents.

So, why did we come to a defensive state that women are no longer victims?

To just emphasize again, by no means I am ignoring the fact that men are not victims. This defensive behavior is in correlation to the hate that is being spread by over-enthusiast feminist society.

Let’s just end it here.

Any form of abuse in homes is just simply bad, that’s it. As a society, where are we going wrong? There must be something that we are doing which is leading men and women towards violence against each other.

We must reevaluate how we are raising children. Violent crimes against women have increased in the past few years, not only in India but across the world.

Law and Order can only do so much to protect women, there’s a higher chance that a lot of cases go quiet under the blanket of shame and societal taboo. Every parent is hugely responsible in the upbringing of children, teach them to treat women and men with respect.

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Shalini Jha
Shalini Jha
1 year ago

Amazing 👌

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