If you hadn’t been sleeping like Rip Van Winkle for the last two-three months, then you will know about the movie Lipstick Under My Burkha. It became famous much before releasing because our great ex-CBFC chief deemed it to be too lady-oriented and hence not worthy of release. The makers took the board to court, won the case and the iconic poster of the lipstick as the middle finger was promptly showed everywhere. Unfortunately, it did not release in my city and so I had to wait to see it. Fortunately, it soon came to Amazon Prime and I spend almost a whole night (after everyone was in bed) to watch the movie. Since I am one of the those ladies that the chief thought may get astray after seeing such a film, here are my two scents regarding it.
First of all, what the four protagonists go through, we have been in those situations one way or another. I was lucky that I was born in a middle class Bengali Brahmo family in a metropolitan city; but still there were limitations that I was placed under just for being a girl/woman. True I did not have to wear a hijab every time I stepped out of the house, but as recent as two or three years ago. my paternal aunt made sure I had my dupatta on my body when I was going out in salwar kameez. My college may not have stopped us from wearing jeans, but I was once pulled and scolded by my seniors for wearing a sleeveless dress that had a net neck.
So identifying with the characters was very easy; we all know that girl who wears modest dress in home and changes in the college to go to party or that wife who has to take iPills because her husband does not want to wear a condom. I have seen my friends being torn between their desire to work and be someone and the pressure of getting married to that perfect “boy”. As for the buaji, well I may be a decade younger than her now but I too like to read about the adventures of “Rosy” in the bed while putting my sons to sleep.
This is where the movie flourishes, it presents a very true to life picture of girls/women in various stages of life being stopped at every step by the patriarchal society all around. The rebel in their own way, some foolishly like stealing things and some by boldly confronting their husband’s mistress. The four main actors were perfect for their role and their camaraderie at the end when all of them had been ultimately caught by the society they tried to cheat their way out, was the best.
And now I will say the word that Jon Snow says makes everything said before invalid — “But”. Yes the movie was good, yes the movie was very true to life, but where is the hope? I know I may sound naive and very childish, but when I go to see a movie, I want at least a little ray of hope. And the movie provides none. The characters rebel, they are caught and that’s it. They sit and admit that all their life was a dream and it was the dream that made their present life so intolerable because it was so far from that dream. And the movie ends. There is no hope for future, they don’t even try to fight back especially Konkona’s character as she was most wronged against. So what is the story about? The miserable life of women in India? Sorry we all live that life in one degree or another and see it all around, then why should I spend money and watch it? Why can’t you show me some hope, some courage that may make the struggle next day a little more easier!
Being a lady-oriented movie does not mean you should only show the grim side of life; take a look at “Nil Battay Sannata”. It was also very true to life but it was such an uplifting movie. So my last thought on “Lipstick Under My Burkha” is that, it is a good effort to show the life of women in India especially in small towns, but it ends in a very grim and hopeless manner. I like my movie experience to leave me with some positive feeling. Am I being too simplistic in my wants? Yes may be. After all, when I watch a movie, I want to be entertained. If I want reality, I will watch National Geography or Discovery channel.
So have you watched the movie? What do you think about it? Do tell in the comment.