Love is supposed to empower us and make us a better version of ourselves. However, love turning into an obsession can turn one of life's most beautiful dreams into an everlasting nightmare.
There are many faces of one-sided love, and we might have been witness to some ourselves. Be it Rahul from 'Darr' or Sunder from 'Raanjhanaa' obsessive lovers have existed both in real as well as reel-life.
But while the reel-life obsessive lovers make for strong topics of critique or discourse, experiencing this sort of insane obsession in real-life can make the very feeling of affection spread like acid within a person's heart, destroying every good feeling in its way, and make living life a thousand times more difficult.
Such is the story of Laxmi Agarwal, who is one of India's most prominent faces of acid attack survivors, who was caught between the love and obsession of a young man, who lost sight of all reason and logic once he laid eyes on her.
Laxmi was just 15-years-old when her stalker Naeem Khan changed her life forever. Laxmi belonged to a middle-class family in Delhi and dreamt of making it big as a singer one day. But little did she know that Khan was getting obsessed with her with every passing day, and would soon propose marriage.
But that is exactly how things unravelled, and Naeem confessed his love to Laxmi and asked her to marry him. Since Laxmi didn't feel the same way she rejected the proposal without realising the repercussions of being honest about her feelings.
Naeem continued to pursue Laxmi, and she kept turning down his advances. So in 2005, one day while Laxmi was headed to a bookshop in South Delhi, Naeem accompanied by two of his friends attacked Laxmi and poured acid over her face and body on Tughlaq Road.
The next few months and years melted away in pain and suffering. While Laxmi lay on the road after getting attacked, nobody came forward to help here initially. It was only later when a taxi driver came forward and took her to Safdarjung Hospital.
For the next three months immediately after the attack, Laxmi underwent multiple surgeries. And over the years, Laxmi has reclaimed not only her life, but also made a difference in how our society sees and treats acid attack survivors. In 2006 she filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a complete ban on acid sale. In 2013, the court order implementation of restrictions on the sale of acid. She also became an active campaigner in the Stop Acid Attack movement.
Moreover, Laxmi founded Stop Sale Acid, which is a campaign against acid violence and the sale of acid. She was recently awarded the International Women Empowerment Award 2019 for this campaign. In 2014 she was awarded the International Women of Courage award by US First Lady Michelle Obama.
She even fell in love with Stop Acid Attack co-founder Alok Dixit and gave birth to their daughter Pihu. However, they parted ways in the following years due to personal differences and today Laxmi is bringing up her daughter as a strong, single mother.
Earlier today Deepika Padukone shared the first look of her upcoming film 'Chhapaak' which is based on Laxmi's real-life story. Deepika's character will be known as Malti in the film which is being directed by Meghna Gulzar. 'Chhapaak' goes on the floors today in New Delhi, and is set to release on 10th January 2020.
Laxmi's life may have been riddled with pain and struggles, but with every passing day, she is pushing through and giving hope to every other acid attack survivor in the country. She is an inspiration that faith and grit can help us overcome everything.