It’s been an over 10 days since the release of Chhapaak and the movie has surely lived up to the expectations. Most people would have read about acid attacks every time it becomes a national headline, but a majority of them would forget or not realize the gravity of such crimes. This movie surely is an eyeopener.
We got in touch with actor Paayal Kapoor Nair, who plays the role of Ms. Shiraz in the movie  to know more about the emotionally driven role she played and what it takes to be in a movie with such a dedicated director and actor.
Paayal Kapoor Nair, who is no stranger in the TV or Film industry, has been part of several mainstream cinemas. Coming from the theatre background and with a vast number of years of experience, one can see her dedication translate into her acting. 

What made you accept Shiraz Jamshedji’s character in Chhapaak?
I did not choose Shiraz Jamshedji. Shiraz chose me. I am so fortunate that this character came my way and I got this opportunity.

How do you resonate yourself in the character?
Shiraz’s ideologies resonate with me. Her selflessness approach to help those in need resonated with me. She is the silent ally of Malti (played by Deepika Padukone) and yet would voice her concern when necessary e.g. In the scene between Malti and Shiraz in the book store, where Shiraz asks her why she quit her studies…. the strength Shiraz shows, resonated with me.

How was your experience working with Deepika Padukone & Meghna Gulzar?Working in Chhapaak has truly been an incredible journey. Both Meghna ma’am and Deepika are not just at their best right now in terms of their choice of cinema but are also great human beings. Meghna ma’am is such a sensitive and wonderful director to work with. She is so sure of what she wants from her actors and she provides you that environment on and off the set where you can deliver your best… because that’s what she wants from her team. And who wouldn’t be in awe of Deepika Padukone? Right from the time I met her for the first time for reading until we wrapped up the film, she was an amazing co-actor and is a wonderful human being. At no point did we feel that we are working with Bollywood’s superstar or one of the producers of Chhapaak. She would be the first one to arrive on the set every day as her prosthetics would easily take 3 hours and would also give us cues on pure close-ups. She was there for everyone and everything. 

Are you expecting any new projects after Chhapaak? (Can spill the beans)
Of course, I am now expecting good roles at par with the one in Chhapaak… so hoping for the best.

What’s your stand towards Acid attacks in India?
My stand is simple. Even though the Supreme court has regulated the sale of acid in India, there is still not a blanket ban, and so it can be available over the counter, although not that easily. So the laws and punishments should be stricter. Policymakers should take notice of this situation and take some strong actions against the sale of acid and the perpetrators who commit these crimes.

Do you think Bollywood should make more social awareness movies to make our nation more alert about the crimes?
Definitely. The power of cinema is not only in its entertainment but it should also spread awareness about issues that we face in our society. And if you say that cinema does mirror the society or the times we are living in then these subjects should get it’s space on the screen. Chhapaak has started that awareness about acid violence and hopefully should bring about some transformation also.