Review of the Bollywood Film " Lipstick under my Burkha"
Catching up to Hollywood
Bollywood is fast catching up with Hollywood. It is also making films that are realistic and showcase the cloistered world of Muslim women.This movie produced by Prakash Jha has been denied a censor certificate. The director Ms. Alankrita Shrivastava has vowed to fight the censor board and get the film released. She feels the film is denied certification as people don't want films with a women orientation. She feels this is wrong as women have as much right as men to relate stories from their viewpoint. The censor board is unrelenting, but perhaps there is a lot of politics involved as well. Since the main characters are Muslim women, perhaps this has a bearing on the censor board's decision.
The film covers the story of 4 women from different age groups. All the 4 are Muslim and the director wants to show that Muslim women though subjugated by their men have dreams and desire like other women. The film relates the story of 4 Burkha clad girls.The first is a college going girl, the second a young beautician, and the third a mother of 3. The last is a widow of55. All these women in their own way discover their sexuality. The film stars small time actors KonkonaSharma and Ratna Pathak. The love affair of the 55-year-old widow played by Ratna Pathak is beautifully depicted on the screen. Two new girls Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur also make a mark. The film will be screened at the Miami film festival and Alankrita who is just 30 will also attend.
The strength of the film is the depiction of the dreams of the 4 women. Love and sex is part of it and we have some daring love scenes as well. The love affair of the widow with a younger man is the forte of the film
Women and dreams
The film has some explicit scenes where the director shows that all women including Muslim women have similar desires.The film was premiered at the Mumbai and Tokyo film festival. It won the Spirit of Asia prize and the Oxham Award for best film on Gender equality. When the film was being readied for commercial release in January 2017, the Censor board refused to certify it.
The film leaves a viewer somewhat dissatisfied as it has an open ending with the 4 women enmeshed in their problems. Probably, the director wanted to show that Muslim women's problems aren't easily solved. It would have been interesting in case the subject of mental makeup of Muslim women had been touched upon in Hollywood. The reach would in that case been global.
The film has got rave reviews but it is not yet released in India. The fact that the film is made by a lady has that special touch in depicting the emotions of Muslim women. The male lead is with Sushant Rajput, but it is the women who strike out and dominate. The film runs for just about 2 hurs and it is time well spent.
Lipstick Under My Burkha
Directed byAlankrita Shrivastava
Produced by Prakash Jha
Starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Phatak, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi.
Country India Language Hindi