Lipstick Under My Burkha

By Devaki Parthasarathy

LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA: Speaks eloquently of women finding their space in a male dominated world. Director Alankrita Shrivastava, comes up with a film which touches upon the current status and sexual desires of women in the India I left behind many year ago. I was quite intrigued by the name of the movie, enough to keep me watching!

I loved how the director skilfully weaved the story of four women through the narration of one erotica book ”˜Lipstick Ke Sapne’. With the depiction of Rosy in the book, the lives and issues of these four women is portrayed realistically and seamlessly. Based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, the movie successfully opens the doors and shows us what goes on behind them. Behind the closed doors   ”“

  • of a conservative Muslim girl’s room, where she dances sans music to let out the rage; of a couple’s bedroom,
  • of a couple’s bedroom where woman who is supposed to be a latent victim to her husband’s libido & chauvinist attitude;
  • of a girl’s beauty salon, where intimate advice is doled out as smoothly as the underarm hair is waxed off and
  • of an older woman’s bathroom where she runs a tap to muffle the moans of her desires.

As the movie wore on, I started to feel that it was the women portraying these lives on screen that gave Lipstick”¦ its true colour.  Konkona’s helplessness makes you think about every woman who is a second-class citizen in her own home. Her agony, aggression and helplessness as a cheated wife is worth every penny of the ticket price.  And Ratna’s portrayal of an infatuated older woman in the throes of passion, will make you look at older women in a new light. Plabita and Aahana light up the screen. Though I couldn’t relate to them, it was quite believable.

The four women are ably supported by the male leads! Vikrant Massey steals the show with his impressive act. Sushant Singh is as always brilliant in his less is more act as a dominant sex-seeking husband. Shashank Arora is just about okay in his small role. And Vaibhav Tatwawaadi shines bright in his small yet prominent role.

Quite honestly, if it was not for the idea of weaving 4 stories through one and brilliant acting by all its actors, Lipstick”¦. Would have been just any movie.the climax was just so run-of-the-mill putting the women who bravely went against the norm for three hours exactly where they started! This tale of women’s equality and liberation may be a mirror of “New India” but the culmination just proves that we are still happy to leave it status quo. Plus the tight close-ups in cramped spaces to make you claustrophobic. The sex scenes though necessary could have been more aesthetic. And   Nothing tasteful”¦

All in all a fair watch”¦ but leaves you wanting for more. Rather than drastically changing things for women, as was the claim”¦ it barely smudges a few boundary lines.

DeeScore 3.2/5

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