“Lipstick Under My Burkha
“Lipstick Under My Burkha
” will have a U.S. theatrical run. Alankrita Shrivastava
’s feminist film — which opened in India earlier this summer after initially being blocked for release by the nation’s Censor Board — is set to premiere September 8 in New York and Los Angeles. The film will open in additional cities in the following weeks.
Set in Bhopal, “Lipstick Under My Burkha
” is about four very different women establishing their own personal and sexual autonomy. Per the film’s synopsis, “Rehana
) is the titular burkha wearer who sings at open mics in defiance of her father’s warnings; Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma
) is a superstar saleswoman, but must keep this triumph a secret from her faithless husband; Leela
) is trying to juggle a Muslim lover, a Hindu fiancé, and her dream career as a bridal consultant; and Auntie Usha
(Ratna Pathak Shah
) secretly reads racy novels and lusts after her swimming instructor.”
Originally barred because of its its “lady oriented” story and “sexual scenes, abusive words, [and] audio pornography,” India’s Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (Fcat) overruled the Censor Board’s decision in April. Shrivastava made some voluntary edits and the film screened in India under an “A,” or adults certificate, the equivalent to the MPAA’s Nc-17 rating.
When the Censor Board originally deemed “Lipstick
” inappropriate for theaters, Shrivastava — who wrote the film with an assist from Suhani Kanwar
and dialogue from Gazal Dhaliwal
— told Women and Hollywood that the film’s “feminist pulse” is what caused offense.
“The film explores the lives of women in a way that has perhaps not been done before in India,” she observed. “And confronting those stories and that perspective has somehow rattled [the Censor Board]… But more than anything the Board is not used to dealing with films where women want to have agency over their own bodies and their own desires.”
” made its U.S. premiere in April at the Indian Film Fest of La. It served as the fest’s opening film and also kicked off the New York Indian Film Festival.
The comedy has taken home a slew of awards throughout its festival run, including the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival, the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival, and the Grand Jury Prize at the Films des Femmes Creteil. Shah and Sen Sharma also picked up acting awards from the London Asian Film Festival and Melbourne’s Indian Film Festival, respectively.Alankrita Shrivastava
’s “Lipstick Under My Burkha
” Gets U.S. Release was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.