‘’Lipstick under my Burka ‘’ a thought provoking movie by Alankrita Srivastawa was made controversial by the CBFC by a ban calling it ‘’lady oriented’’. To see this ‘’orientation’’, I lurked into a nearby movie hall today afternoon and watched it in full. Any right thinking person who sees the movie will be convinced that it is the same misogynist mind-set that the film tries to expose was in itself the cause of its ban. Thanks to the appellate board, which overruled the CBFC , the film is now available for public viewing .
Coming to the movie , the protagonist are four women representing four age groups .
A teenaged Muslim girl who is in her traditional burka at home clandestinely turns herself up into a lipstick - jeans clad girl at college by stealing her western wardrobe from the nearby store. She aspires to become a rock star and in that effort she dreams , drinks ,smokes and once even slept with her boyfriend, only to be caught by police for stealing. Finally her father bales her off from police station as well as from her aspiration , back into her burka clad life.
The second protagonist is a young adult lady who dreams of making big in her life. She manipulates the relationship with her fiancé who was forced upon her. Her passionate sex drives with a photographer friend turns sour when he dumps her .
A midlife Muslim married woman with three kids skilled in door to door selling is the third character. Her Saudi returned male chauvinist husband resorts to continuous marital rapes forcing her to resort to multiple abortions. She too dreams of being employed and independent only to be raped back to the four walls of her house.
The forth protagonist is a 50 plus old woman who reads soft porn literature in religious tomes. She explores her sexuality by buying and wearing a sexy swim suit and learns swimming from a stud guy with whom she engages in telephonic sex for her late night moaning. The men in her claustrophobic locality who revered her as a respectable and religious woman, find the truth out and throw her into the street
The movie ends with all the Lip stick ladies smoking out their failure together in a room over a lost dream . The lipstick gets exhausted by that time and so also my patience.
The movie tries to explore a wonderful theme of female sexuality, hidden under a patriarchal and misogynist social fabric and is a good attempt in caricaturing the larger issue of female desire. The teen aged girl’s fantasy of experimentation and the young girl’s rebellious sexual expression are aptly portrayed. The mental trauma from the painful, anti –orgasmic shudders of an abusive husband on a middle aged woman is vividly portrayed in the movie. Same is the case of the post-menopausal fantasy of the old lady .
While the theme hold good what is amiss is the scripting of a traditional climax where the female succumbing to the male order, may be a ‘’Sanskriti theme’’ borrowed from Gauri Shinde’’s ‘’English Vinglish’’ . I expected all the protagonist to be like Mansi the character played by Rekha in Basu Bhatacharyas , 1997 block buster Aastha or like Mahesh Manjrekar’s Astitva where the character played by Tabu challenges her male chauvinist husband
Themes on female sexuality have been tested by many movie makers but at a time when females of today have indeed become expressive and experimental why not the theme of women taking the lip stick and saying thumps down to men.
Unless women are shown as a winner against the challenges they face from men and marriage, I will not give thumps up to this movie