Victory Lipstick Under My Burkha hits screens
An award-winning Hindi film initially banned from cinemas for being too “lady-oriented” has made its debut across India in what its director hailed as a major victory for women.
Lipstick Under My Burkha, which depicts the secret world – including the sex lives – of four small-town Indian women, was released last weekend after months of wrangling with the country’s censors.
Its director, Alankrita Shrivastava, said she felt “numb” that her film was finally screening, five months after she received a letter from the Central Board of Film Certification advising it would be refused classification. The letter, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, said the movie featured “abusive words” and “audio pornography”. The decision was overturned by an appeals board in April, clearing the film for its summer release.
At a cinema in Saket, an affluent south Delhi neighbourhood, the controversy was a source of bemusement to the crowd lined up to watch its first screening.
“We cut class to be here,” said Sargon, a psychology student. “There’s so much dialogue around this whole idea of feminism, and this is a problem in India because of the different religious identities. This movie puts the issue in your face – you can’t hide from it.”
Kainaat, studying history, said: “We live under patriarchal rule, so when women-oriented films come out, there’s always controversy. When women start talking about their desires, their likes, their freedoms, it’s unexpected.”