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Entertainment » Film Review Share

Lipstick under my burkha: engaging tale about harsh reality of Indian women lives

By Rajesh Ahuja

New Delhi, Jul 21 (UNI) 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.
Rating:4/5: one for the bold subject, one for the screenplay, one for direction and one for the performances.