Prakash Jha’s production, Lipstick Under My Burkha, directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, had been in news from showing Censor Board and its chief Pahlaj Nihalani’s autocratic ways to the world once again. Pahlaj Nihalani‘s committee refused to certify the movie saying, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy about life. There are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines.” The entire industry have been up in arms against the Board for this new stance, and it has been getting flak for many film-makers like Kabir Khan and Farhan Akhtar.
Now in an incident that will make the case stronger for the movie, Lipstick Under My Burkha has been declared the winner of the third annual Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival. The director, Alankrita Shrivastava was presented with the award by David Tennant, known for his roles in Doctor Who Series, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire and Jessica Jones, at the Glasgow Film Theatre.
On the win, Shrivastava later commented, “I am so deeply honoured that Lipstick Under My Burkha has won the ScotRail Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival. Right now, when the film has been refused certification for exhibition in India because it is a women-centric film with a female point of view, I think the award could not have been more timely. The fact that the people of Glasgow have loved the film is an affirmation of the relevance of the film across cultures and nations. It is an affirmation of the fact that women’s stories need to be told, through the female point of view. This award gives me hope. It gives me courage. It makes me believe that as women, we must continue to tell our stories, undeterred by those who want to silence us.”
Lipstick Under My Burkha tells the stories of four Indian women seeking more from life than docile domesticity. Young mother Shirin feels she must hide her professional success from her husband. Ambitious beautician Leela takes the lead with her Muslim boyfriend even as her family arranges her marriage to a nice Hindi boy. College girl Rehana is the Cinderella figure of the quartet whilst the older, irrepressible Auntie Usha sets her sights on a hunky swimming instructor. All of them are freedom fighters against a deeply patriarchal society in this colourful and wildly engaging production.