Indian film, Lipstick Under my Burkha, showcasing the lives of four women exploring their dreams and desires is an official selection for the Tokyo International Film Festival and its freshly-released trailer has left film buffs excited.
Bollywood is gradually producing more women-centred films, while item songs remain the highlight. Movies such as Lipstick Under My Burkha are however challenging the standing status. Starring the likes of Ratna Pathak Shah and Konkona Sen Sharma along with Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, the movie is already being hailed as a potential revolution in feminist cinema.
The movie has been described by the production house as “the fun, spirited and poignant story of women in tradition-bound, small-town India, finding the courage to chase their secret dreams and inner desires.” Set to premiere internationally at the prestigious Tokyo International Film Festival and the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival later this month, the trailer of the movie has generated much interest and curiosity among viewers.
The film, a production of Prakash Jha who is known for his socio-political commentaries, has caught the attention of the German Sales Agency M-Appeal who have chosen to represent it worldwide commercially and for festivals. Lipstick Under My Burkha has become the first Indian film to come under the banner of M-Appeal.
M-Appeal chief Maren Kroymann said to the press, “Tracking the lives and sexuality of four women living in India is not an easy topic to tackle, but it was beautifully portrayed and the film has a feeling so fresh that we’re looking forward to bringing it to international audiences worldwide. We hope that viewers will fall in love with these characters, and continue the discussion that is so prevalent today — of international women’s rights.”
The film traces the stories of four women exploring their inner desires and sexual identities, rebels in their own small ways. As revealed by the trailer, one of them is a burqa-donning college girl seeking to become a pop singer while questioning her cultural background and the second is a young two-timing beautician; the third is a housewife and mother of three, who lives the alternate life of an enterprising saleswoman; and finally there’s a 55-year-old widow, who rediscovers her sexuality through a phone romance.
Cues for controversy
With the censor board having been traditionally conservative and ruthless, the question remains whether the movie will have to share a similar fate of having crucial scenes cut out. In a film exploring the female sexuality and a call for independence for women, the audience is bound to be divided on the subject. Undoubtedly feminist in its vision, Lipstick Under My Burkha is being subjected to moral policing by people on social media already. Without a complete look at the film, however, the opinions remain unsubstantiated and only a matter of speculation.