Language : Hindi.
Director : Alankrita Shrivastava
Writers : Gazal Dhaliwal, Suhani Kanwar, Alankrita Shrivastava
Cast : Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma , Aahana Kumra , Plabita Borthakur
IMDb: Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016)
Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Disclaimer: This movie is intended for mature audiences. This review also contains some spoilers.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is a 2016 Hindi female-centric film written and directed by Alankrita Shrivastava. It tells the story of 4 middle-class women, who are from different religions, different ages, and neighbors, hailing from Bhopal.
The film starts to tell its politics from the first shot itself. But as we know in a hypocritic land like India, this is the simplest way to put forward a strong subject. The film stars Ratna Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra, and Plabita Borthakur in lead roles. Everyone has done a stellar performance. But the main factor which binds the film is its screenplay and direction. I don’t think there is any film in recent times which tells us the need for feminism and the importance of female sexuality as brilliantly as Lipstick Under my Burkha. There is a striking scene in the movie where the mother of one of the protagonists says to her daughter how she ends up doing a stigmatizing job after the failure of her marriage and moments later wants her daughter to be married to a stranger, a path she herself regrets. But she still feels that is the best option for her to have a chance at getting a good life given the limited options and the shackles of society at large. The director deserves special accolades for honestly dealing with such a serious subject. The protagonists are the same women whom we see in our day-to-day life, that is the women who live till an age for parent’s interests and then lead a life for their husband’s interest after marriage, without having self-respect, individual dreams, opinions and even without their fantasies. Each one of them has different dreams and the film tells how they are trying to fulfill them and how our society becomes a barrier. There is a college scene where Plabita Borthakur protests against not being allowed to wear jeans and asks “ Why are you afraid of our freedom and what happens if we get equality?. And also another scene where Konkana finds out about her husband’s extramarital affair and chases that woman and politely threatens her. These portions require special mention and everyone in that scene has done their job beautifully.
In its 118 min run, the climax part is the most touching one. The 4 women sit together and exchange some conversations which summarizes the entire movie. Overall Lipstick under my Burkha is a must-watch film that conveys a strong message.
Verdict: 7/7 Stars.
Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016) was the opening film at the New York Indian Film Festival, Konkona Sen Sharma was also awarded as the winner for Best Actress award.
The film was banned in early April 2017 by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), as the board had refused to certify the film, terming it as ‘lady oriented’.