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In rural India, a burkha-clad college girl struggles with issues of cultural identity andher aspirations to become a pop singer. A young two-timing beautician seeks to escapethe claustrophobia of her small town. An oppressed housewife and mother of three livesthe alternate life of an enterprising saleswoman. A 55-year-old widow rediscovers hersexuality through a phone romance. Caught in a conservative society, these women setforth to break the mold, in search of a little freedom.
Lipstick under My Burkha was caught in a controversy as the Central Board of Film Certification in India has refused to certify the film because it is \"lady-oriented\". \"Lipstick\" in the title signifies women’s sexual desire and passion for freedom in pursuit of their dreams while ‘burkha’ refers to the patriarchal society that constrains women from wearing ‘lipstick.’ The film features four strong female leads wanting to wear lipstick in a society where women in their twenties to fifties are forced to wear burkha. Auntie, a 55-year-old widow who has been living alone since her husband’s death, develops a huge crush on a young swim instructor and starts to enjoy steamy phone sex by reading an erotic novel to him. A beautician secretly has an affair with her photographer ex-boyfriend on the eve of her wedding. As her fiancé finds out what has happened, she must decide whether she should call off the marriage she never wanted. Meanwhile, Shiri, a door-to-door saleswoman and mother of three, becomes a victim of marital rape after she accuses her husband of cheating on her. Rehana, a university student in her twenties who dreams of becoming a pop singer, wears burkha not because she is the daughter of a burkha shop owner but because she wants to hide what she has stolen at the department store beneath it. The mid-aged woman in love with a young man is put to shame as one of her relatives finds out about her love life while the bride-to-be who loves another man gets abandoned by her fiancé. The mother of three quits her job since her husband who was caught cheating does not allow her to work. Meanwhile, the university student dreaming of becoming a singer not in burkha but in jeans is forced to drop out of school and get married. In the final scene, these four women dreaming of wearing their own “lipstick” get together inside the burkha shop and read out the last lines from the book Auntie used to read for phone sex, which is a strong gesture indicating they will never give up on their dreams despite the society’s efforts to constrain them. (Sunah KIM)
Alankrita SHRIVASTAVAAlankrita SHRIVASTAVA
Alankrita SHRIVASTAVA is a feature film director and screenwriter from Mumbai, India with a penchant for telling women’s stories. She likes to explore the complex interior world of women through her films. Alankrita has written and directed two feature films, Turning 30!!! and Lipstick Under My Burkha. She has worked on several Indian feature films including Raajneeti as an Associate Director, and KhoyaKhoya Chand as an Executive Producer. She has also directed short films, documentaries and music videos.