Producer: Prakash Jha
Writers: Alankrita Shrivastava
What's Yay: Performances, Direction, Story
What's Nay: The male characters lack a depth and appear more one-dimensional.
Popcorn Refill: Strictly Interval
Iconic Moment: The scenes involving Ratna Pathak Shah lend a tragicomedy flavor to the film and you will yourself relishing them the most.
Set in Bhopal, Lipstick Under My Burkha opens with a voiceover about how there comes a time in a woman's life where she yearns to be one and then 'jawaani kaante ki tarah chubne lagti hain." Soon, we are introduced to the lives of four women who dare to break free the shackles of a sexually repressed society and live the life that they deserve.
Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) is a regular teen who lives in a burkha at home but inspires to be a desi Miley Cyrus, calls Led Zep's 'Stairway To Heaven' her 'forever favourite song', protests against jeans ban in her college and even goes shop-lifting.
Shireen (Konkona Sen Sharma), a burkha-clad housewife whose chauvinistic husband treats her as a mere s*x object, finds solace in a door-to-door sales job unknowing to him.
Leela (Aahana Kumara) who runs a beauty parlour, doesn't want to wait for her suhaag raat to live out her fantasies.
Buaji or Usha Parmar (Ratna Pathak Shah), a 55 year old whose sexual existence is a big 'no-no' for the society has hots for her young, beefy swimming coach and even indulges in some phone s'x under a fictional name.
Ironically, these women live in an abode, Hawa Hawai which is owned by Buaji and rented by the other three.
All these four stories are narrated parallel with a desi erotica named 'Lipstickwale Sapne' whose lead character Rosie harbors wild fantasies and wet dreams.
The rest of the film revolves around how these four female protagonists turn on their rebellious mode despite knowing its consequences.
Lipstick Under My Burkha first caught everyone's attention when the CBFC deemed the film unfit for viewing for its 'lady-oriented' story and contagious sexual scenes. The makers followed the next step and knocked the doors of FCAT who finally approved it.
Perhaps, Mr Pahlaj Nihalani didn't want us to hold the mirror to the society where there is no place for a woman's closeted desires! Kudos to Alankrita Shrivastava for opening the doors and showing us what goes on behind them because of male patriarchy. Where a girl can't even dance in a public function because 'log kya sochege'. Where an older woman has to run a tap to muffle her sexual moans. Where a man doesn't care a damn about his wife's consent or desire before unzipping his pants.
Alankrita's film releases the voice of these women which often goes unheard. It smudges few boundary lines and lights up a ray of hope. On the flipside, the male characters could have been fleshed out a bit to avoid its one-dimensional portrayal.
Konkona Sen Sharma as the submissive Shireen has a couple of hard-hitting scenes which gives you goosebumps. Ratna Pathak Shah's track of a woman in the throes of passion, is the most impressive one of the lot. She is endearing in the humorous bits and her acting prowess prevent Buaji from being an embarrassing caricature. Aahana Kumara's feisty act and Plabita Borthakur's coy-turned rebel is quite impressive.
Vikram Massey is a delight to watch irrespective of the length of his role. Sushant Singh and Vaibhav Tatwawaadi put up a good show. Shashank Arora sadly, is a weak plot link.
Akshay Singh's cinematography perfectly captures the atmosphere and lends in the necessary claustrophobic-ness wherever required. Charu Shree Roy's editing scores fine. Gazal Dhaliwal's dialogues which range from sexual innuendos to emotional outbursts gives a layered texture to the film.
The music score by Zebunissa Bangash and Mangesh Dhadke lends an upper hand to the film.
If you are looking out for some power-packed content, then opt for this bold shade of lipstick which has a long-lasting impact.