Lipstick under my burkha: engaging tale about harsh reality of Indian women lives (Review By Rajesh Ahuja ; Rating: **** )
one for the bold subject, one for the screenplay, one for direction and one for the performances.
The cute and adorable girl next door, the obedient daughter of her parents, the loyal and uncomplaining wife or the 'religious minded' aunt - these are the overwhelming images of a women that have dotted the silver screen for a major part of the Indian cinema's history.
Things may have changed to somewhat in recent years with on screen portrayals of a women coming across as more realistic, but the compulsions of catering to a mass audience has prevented filmmakers from unveiling the real dreams and desires of a women on the silver screen. 'Lipstick under my burkha', however, dares to go where not many films have ventured.
The film takes us on a interesting journey to explore the secret, but unfulfilled dreams and desires of a women in our society, be it the sales girl Shireen, who longs to get out of her passionless relationship, a beautician looking to elope with her boyfriend against wishes of her parents, a college girl wearing a pair of torn denims, boots, Miley Cyrus top and branded expensive lipstick under her burkha or a 55 year old 'Buaji' going for swimming and engaging in phone sex in her bathroom.
Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, 'Lipstick under my burkha ' is the story of four women - Shireen, Leela, Rihanna and buaji.
Shireen (Konkona Sensharma) is a sales girl whose husband stays in Saudi and visits home occasionally.
She is forced into a passionless lovemaking every night by her husband who treats her like a sex toy.
Shireen has hidden her profession from her husband Rahim (Sushant Singh) fearing that he’ll never approve of it.
Leela (Aahana Kumra), a beautician is being forced to marry a man of his mother’s choice, but she is madly in love with her boyfriend Arshad (Vikrant Massey) and plans to elope with him.
Rihanna, (Plabita Borthakur) a college student is forced to stitch burkha every night by her parents.
She wears burkha, but under it are a pair of torn denims, boots, Miley Cyrus top and branded expensive lipstick– all stolen from a shopping mall.
While she gives strong feminist lectures in college, at home she silently stitches burkhas at night.
Fifity-five-year-old bua ji (Ratna Pathak Shah) is addressed as bua ji by everyone from 6 to 60.
At an age where people expect her to go to Satsang, she goes to learn swimming instead.
She calls up her young handsome trainer at night pretending to be a fictitious character and reads out pages from an erotic novel and engages in phone sex in her bathroom.
The film takes us through an interesting journey to explore the secret desires of these women.
It is a stark look at the daily struggle by these women to realise their dreams in a male dominated society.
It shows the sharp contrast between the secret desires of these women and their real life in which they are forced to contend with the restrictions placed on them by the male dominated set up.
Women audience can find themselves in these film characters.
The direction by Alankrita is impressive.
Not only has she weaved an interesting story of the lives of these four women, she has also managed to extract good performance from them.
The film perfectly mirrors the harsh reality of society when it comes to the lives of women.
The film boasts of brilliant performances by the cast.
As the sales woman Shireen caught in a love less relationships and a monotonous sexual like, Konkona Sen delivers an superlative performance.
As Rihanna, who wears a pair of torn denims, boots, Miley Cyrus top and branded expensive lipstick under a burkha, Plabita Borthakur is a revelation.
As Leela , Aahana Kumra has done a fine job.
However, a real highlight of the film is veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah as buaji.
As the 55 year old who reads out pages from an erotic novel and engages in phone sex in her bathroom, she is simply outstanding.
As Leela's boyfriend Arshad and Shireen's husband Rahim, Vikrant Massey and Sushant Singh thoroughly impress.
'Lipstick under my burkha ' is an engaging tale about the harsh reality of lives of Indian women in a male dominated set up.
"Lipstick Under My Burkha" director Alankrita Shrivastava finds the current anti-women sentiment in India "sickening"."The level of anti-women sentiment in this country, at this moment is sickening. The arrogance and violence of a monstrous patriarchal society is in full force. Trying to gag the voices that dare to whisper a few words in defence of a woman's right to life, liberty and dignity," Shrivastava tweeted.Read MoreAahana Kumra wants to do slice of life films
Actress Aahana Kumra, who has featured in "Lipstick Under My Burkha" and will be seen in Anupam Kher-starrer "The Accidental Prime Minister", says she wants to do more slice of life genre films now.Read More
Four feisty women from the bustling bylanes of old Bhopal, quietly chase their dreams, rebelling in small ways against the conventional identities they are boxed in. Through the colourful prism of the double lives of these women, the film explores the many shades of female desire.
A college girl struggles with issues of cultural identity and her aspirations to become a pop singer. A young beautician seeks to elope with her lover and escape the claustrophobia of her small town. An oppressed housewife and mother of three lives the alternate life of an enterprising saleswoman. A 55-year-old widow rediscovers her sexuality through a phone romance.
Caught in a conservative society, these women set forth to break the mould, in search of a little freedom.