Lipstick Under My Burkha



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 76%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 3983


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November 08, 2017 at 11:22 AM


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Raj Doctor 5 / 10

Point Taken - Girls and Women have sexual desires

The movie is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava who was assistant director to Indian Hindi movies Director Prakash Jha's two films Apaharan and Rajneeti - who has supported her to produced this film.

The story is of four women - Usha (Ratna Pathak) Leela (Aahana Kumra), Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) - all staying in the same chawl - a mix of religious identities and age groups

The story is narrated on a parallel track of a novel that Usha's voice-over reads parts of a Hindi porno novel "Lipstick wale Sapne"

Usha is in mid fifties who loves to read porno novels,

Leela is a sex-hungry girl in love with a photography and aspiring to be a celebrity, but is engaged with another guy - yet continues to have sex and love her lover

Shirin is a housewife who secretly does a job of sales women to support her family when her unemployed husband is out having an extra- marital affair and whenever he comes home, is obsessed with treating his wife Shirin as sex object.

And Rehana is a college going girl who wants to break free from her religious conservative Muslim family. She goes out from her house wearing a Burkha but craves for all western things - music, dresses, dance, life-style etc., is a shop-lifter at shops in malls of expensive things she likes.

For sure all the four characters would exist in real life - and a story on them would be interesting. But the living context does not make it practically plausible, but this are some filmy liberties that are permitted when the director's aim is to put a specific point across.

The basic idea of the director is to give audience a SHOCK TREATMENT by showing a lot of sex scenes from the view point of being a women.

Except a few well written and directed scenes, the film falls down to being a B-C grade cinema.

Girls and women exists who also crave for sex as men is well presented. They want to break free of all the norms society lays on them. What the movie ends up in is a lop - sided portrayal of women and girls. But the point is strongly delivered.

Many people think engaging in sex, protests, anger, doing something different that no one approves is breaking Free and being LIBERAL. which is such a poor view of liberalism.

Among the four actress - Ratna Pathak and Konkona Sen excel in their portrayals, especially their culmination scenes where

Ratna is reminded of her old age and her looks and her desires and LOVE, but termed as "shameful" by throwing her on the streets. That scene broke my heart into pieces

And the culmination scene of Konkona being brutally raped by her husband and asked to stop working is another scene that brought tears to my eyes..

It is a bit difficult to sit thought the entire duration of the film without getting bored - but I sat through curiously to see - what the Director had in mind to conclude with.

Direction is below average, some scenes are so stupid, some sub-plots and characters hard to believe or digest.

The depiction of these four women too is shallow and it is only for the credit of Konkona and Ratna Pathak's maturity that - there is some depth in their characters because of their portrayals - the other two ladies are okay - nothing to write about.

There are so many (may be more than 100) scenes where the director has not taken care of continuity while shooting or editing. The placement of extras keep on changing places, and so do the make up of artists.

Overall - I think the purpose was to make a feminist point about putting across women's sexual desire issues strongly - right ON THE FACE as a slap to society in general. The film on a large part succeeds in that. But there is no subtlety in anything.

The same points could had been made with more force without using so many sexual scenes and dialogues.

If this is what they call women liberalization movement, we have to still go a long way back and start all over again...

I give this movie 5.25 rating out of 10.

Reviewed by TVP Reviews 6 / 10

Of dreams and despair - but succumbs to clichés

Lipstick Under My Burkha is not a perfect film... Far from it actually... But this is an important film that leaves one happy, sad and disappointed at same time...

Happy - because Alankrita Srivastava dared to navigate through a subject that is usually a taboo to be even discussed openly by women, and does that skillfully without resorting to titillation or sleaze, rather using interesting metaphors throughout the script.. she dared to dream just like she wants the Rosie in each of her four protagonists to dream and live that life..

Sad - because here are four very ordinary women presented with their day to day struggle to even live a life of little common pleasures, where they are all strangulated to even dream, where they and many around them are all living dual lives and making peace with it not attempting to change anything because they possibly know its not worth the effort..

Disappointed - because this story told could have been so much more. Disappointed because the script resorts to a clunky end of using the clichéd smoking metaphor as an equivalent of liberation and sisterhood bonding. Disappointed because the script still appears forced and jarring at times to drive home some subtle points. Disappointed because it still takes a pseudo feminist stand in places showing mostly one dimensional male characters, and does not work enough on the script to make it smooth and integrated enough. Disappointed because the film still seems more focused on impressing the festivals circuits, rather than telling a simple story simply.

The film benefits immensely by getting the cast right though.. Ratna Pathak Shah is outstanding as the gutsy Usha Parmar and is the lifeline of this story.. Konkona Sen Sharma is extremely good too as expected.. I found these two stories much stronger than the other two personally, though Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur perform well too.. Ahana's Leela and her track was the most defocused and weak in my opinion though..

Overall, there is a lipstick and a burkha that exists in the life of every woman and a shade of Rosie who lives deep beneath every soul, and this film will drag them out from the dark closets of everyone.. triggering identification to one or more of these characters.. and creating moments that are impactful.. Well done Alankrita for showing that courage..

How I wish though that an idea like this could get a much tighter treatment and finer finishing that could have made it as haunting a film as the subject demanded.. Sigh!

Reviewed by Takethispunch 9 / 10

Really surprised to see this kinda cinema emerge frm India. Nice one.

Rehana Abidi seeks the freedom to be who she wants. A two-timing beautician (Leela) seeks to escape the claustrophobia of her Bhopal community. A housewife (Shireen Aslam) with three children seeks the alternative life of a saleswoman. A 55-year-old widow, Usha finds sexual reawakening through a telephone romance with a young swimming coach.

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