After a long struggle with the censor board, Lipstick Under My Burkha will finally hit the screens in India.
The film has been a runaway hit on the global film festival circuit and made headlines after the CBFC banned it from being played across screens in India.
Alankrita Shrivastava’s award-winning film was refused a certification by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the grounds that the movie contained sexual scenes, abusive language, pornography and also hit the sentiments of a certain section of society.
Enraged at the ban, the producer of the film, Prashant Jha told Mumbai Mirror in February this year,”As a country, we must encourage freedom of expression but the CBFC refusing to certify films that tell uncomfortable stories discourages filmmakers from pushing the envelope. Films should challenge the status quo.”
The movie revolves around the secretive life of four women who are in search of freedom by asserting their personal and sexual rights.
Lipstick Under My Burkha has won the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality, Grand Jury Prize for the Best Feature Film at Films de Femmes in France, the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival and the Spirit of Asia Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
It was in January this year that the CBFC refused to certify the film, because the story is ‘too lady oriented.’ The filmmakers appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) which later over-ruled the decision of CBFC thereby granting the theatrical release rights, under A certification. The film will now release on 28 July in theatres across India.
In an interview with SheThePeople.TV, the fearless director of the film opened up on her struggle and successes, among other things and said, “Indian cinema sometimes threatens patriarchy”.
Apart from this movie, there are several other movies like Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen was banned for containing sexual content. India’s Daughter, a documentary by Leslee Udwin based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape, was prevented from being broadcast in India.
CBFC had also in the past gave an A (adult) certification to Angry Indian Goddesses and demanded sixteen cuts in the movie. Unfreedom was another Hindi movie which had to face restrictions from CBFC.