Vikrant Massey has joined the cast of Meghna Gulzar’s biopic on acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal, starring Deepika Padukone, Mumbai Mirror reported on Wednesday.

Titled Chhapaak, the film marks Padukone’s first outing as a producer. Massey will play Alok Dixit, Agarwal’s former partner and fellow activist.

Agarwal was 15 when she was attacked in Delhi by a 32-year-old man whose marriage proposal she had turned down. Agarwal is now a prominent advocate for the rights of acid attack survivors and campaigns to restrict the sale of acid. In 2014, she was given the International Women of Courage Award in the United States of America.

Agarwal’s story stood out because of its social and legal implications, Gulzar told Mumbai Mirror. She said she choose the title Chhapaak, which indicates the sound of a splash, because it “immediately and effortlessly” conveys the film’s subject. Chhapaak is scheduled to go into production in Mumbai and Delhi in March.

Gulzar’s most recent film, the Alia Bhatt-starrer Raazi, is among 2018’s hits. Massey’s credits include Amazon Prime Video’s Mirzapur and Konkona Sen Sharma’s A Death in the Gunj (2017) and Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016).

Laxmi Agarwal at the International Women of Courage Award ceremony in 2014. Courtesy US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons.
Laxmi Agarwal at the International Women of Courage Award ceremony in 2014. Courtesy US Department of State/Wikimedia Commons.