Readers Write In #331: Thappad

Posted on January 25, 2021


(by Woman in Progress)

I saw just THAPPAD, the IMDB synopsis would read – its about a woman (Amrita), and how her husband (Vikram) in a fit of fury about a work related fiasco, slaps her, and how she eventually filed for divorce.

So many things in the movie resonated with me.

I’m feeling heavy and light at the same time.

My husband slapped me on February 2017, 3 days later I moved my kids back to my mom’s house for a week. During which my husband continued to fluctuate between harassing me  (forcing me to come back, telling me I’m making a big deal about nothing, how I made him slap me) and offering a half baked apology (I’m sorry, I’ve said sorry so many times, I can’t change what has already happened)

There’s  a scene where the divorce lawyer says to amrita  “its just one slap, I would advice you to go back and sort things out”  “maybe someone will see the slap as unreasonable, but your reaction to the slap, everyone will see it as unreasonable”

That certainly happened. I went back. But I had already walked out of my marriage. The next 2 years were hell, till I decided to leave. 

Amrita says 3 things

1) you know what happened after the slap , I started to question the all the things that have been unfair in my marriage, which I pretended didn’t exist.

2) it’s not entirely his fault….. it’s partly mine, for becoming this person who allowed this to happen to me, its partly my moms fault…..for teaching me that women are the ones who have to give in and adjust to make marriages work…… and its partly his mom’s fault

3) i want to be happy – when I say i’m say i’m happy, I don’t want to be lying

The people around her reminded me of my family too

1) the dad who loves his daughter – but realises that he hasn’t been as supportive as his wife’s dreams as he is of his daughters….. and he’s reconsidering his worth as a husband

2) the mom who loves her daughter but is so conditioned by patriarchy,  she tells her to go back 

3) the brother who gives her a hard time for making a big deal out of just one slap…… who later realises that he too never thought of any of this from his sister’s point of view…… and that his girlfriend deserves a better man

4) the mother in law who says “women need to learn to be patient and tolerant” …… Amrita replies saying “so did you find any happiness with all the patience and tolerance” ….. the mother in law says – “my husband and children are happy, and that’s my happiness too”….. I’ve has issues with my mother in law, but she’s been there for me, and what I’ve learnt through this divorce is that, we married the same man, but she was made from that generation of women who could make the 50 silent sacrifices.    

Theres a scene at the end, to which she tell her MIL, at her in laws place: 

amrita: you’ve showered  me with so much love, but that night after the slap, I realised you didn’t love me, you loved vikram’s wife, no one in this family came to see me, no one told vikram that it was his fault, and even if it was, i should put it behind and move on, I can’t forgive any of you for that, I can’t live in this house in these circumstances. I don’t know if I’ll ever have this conversation with my ex mother-in-law.

5) the husband…… he didn’t remind me of mine…… I told my therapist once that even if you take the serious issues out of my marriage, I would still have to deal with some baseline bullshit …….. this husband is that baseline bullshit….. he’s really entitled…..and I realised we’ve normalised this entitlement for years…… it’s all about him, how he feels, his career, his dreams, his favourite colour, food…… he jokes to some members of his family whom even he doesn’t like about his wife’s bad cooking…… even when he talks about the slap, it’s always about how he felt when he slapped her, what made him do it. 

The day after the slap, Vikram tells Amrita that he’s leaving his company – he put in so much in terms of time, effort – physically , mentally and emotionally…..and that he’s not staying in a place where he’s not valued.

she just looks a him …..I read her mind ” well asshole, neither am I”