Lipstick Under My Burkha
Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Raucous, rebellious and full of fun, Alankrita Shrivastava’s film is a feminist manifesto in fiction form. It features four tales of female transgression in socially conservative India: Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) is a Miley Cyrus-loving student for whom the burkha is a disguise masking her true desires; Leela (Aahana Kumra) is a materialistic man-eater who pursues some spectacular extracurricular activities behind her fiancé’s back; Usha (Ratna Pathak Shah) is an older woman who enjoys—really enjoys—erotic fiction; and Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma) is a zealous door-to-door salesperson who, back at home, is oppressed by her husband.
Strongly acted and shot in rich, gaudy colour, Lipstick takes lip-smacking pleasure in shattering taboos and pushing boundaries. The defiant, almost giddy focus on female sexual pleasure is bracing even by Western standards and, naturally enough, it’s paired with a righteous anger at the misogyny women have to endure—the movie is especially pointed in its send-up of male cluelessness and sexual incompetence. Shrivastava’s brand of humour is as infectious as it is imposing; this is a crowd-pleaser and an act of courage.
"Bold and colorful… A euphoric tale of veiled desire."—Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Best Film, London Asian Film Festival 17; Spirit of Asia Award, Tokyo 16