Lipstick Under My Burkha narrates the stories of four women who are caught up in the society’s unrealistic expectations supressing their dreams.
By Meghana Pawar - July 21, 2017
Cast: Konkona Sen Sharma,Ratna Pathak,Aahana Kumrah,Plabita Borthakur,Sushant Singh,Vikrant Massey,Shashank Arora,Vaibhav Tatwawdi
Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
One line Review: Stories of four women who are caught up in their own webs trying to find a way out and breathe fresh air.
Positive Points: The realistic facet of the society is presented bluntly. A very brave attempt on part of the makers. Performances of all the leads add life to the stories and make the viewers resonate with them.
Negative Points: The narration builds up the story to the peak till the climax but ends on a middling note.
Plot: The lives of four women living in an old building in Bhopal have been depicted precisely. Bua ji (Ratna Pathak) who is a 55 year old widow, runs a sweet and snack corner. She owns the old building where several other tenants live. Bua ji who is expected to go to Satsangs and temples is fond of reading erotic novels and has ‘lipstick wale dreams’. Sherin Aslam on the other hand is a mother of three children, her husband is mostly in the Saudi Arabia for work so she has acquired a job here as a sales person and excels in her field. Sherin’s husband who now has returned and is jobless does all the wrong things and uses his wife as a sex toy. Rehana is a college student who is forced to wear Burkha but fights for her ‘jeans’ rights in college, loves to sing and dance like Miley Cyrus but is made to stitch Burkhas in the shop by her parents. Leela’s story is where she is stuck between two guys, one the love of her life and other one her fiancé. All the women try to rebel against the societal norms in their own little way and dream of living their lives with freedom.
Direction and other Technical Aspects: Director Alankrita Shrivastava has definitely stepped into a brave zone by depicting the lives of small town women in such a light. It has never been seen or shown in Indian cinema before where the sensual desires of women are portrayed boldly. These natural desires do occur in both the sexes but since our society is patriarchal, it never really likes to address women needs and like to see women in a certain way. The line where Sherin’s husband says “Biwi ho shauhar banne ki koshish na karo” when she excels and wants to keep her sales job, explain the patriarchal society’s thought process. Charushree Roy’s editing is crisp and has supported some scenes vividly which are shot in closed spaces. The cinematography is good and the narration is fast paced, also, Ratna Pathak’s voice over at the backdrop worked well for the visuals. There are scenes which are brilliantly shot and executed by the camera person and the actors. The pre-climax narration where at the backdrop of bursting crackers, bursts the dreams of these four weary souls seeking solace is catured noteworthily.
Performances: Ratna Pathak is a gem. She plays the 55 year old widow who tries to explore her sensuality which according to the society is something unimaginable at this age. Her performance is just right and the viewers completely feel for the beautiful Bua ji who just wants to fulfil her harmless desires.
Konkona Sen Sharma is a supremely talented actress who has proved her mettle time and again with challenging roles. In this film, her character is the most relatable and painful one to see. She exudes all the emotions with utmost perfection.
Plabita’s role is of a rebel college student who is lost and teared to find her freedom. She manages to pull off the role convincingly. Aahana’s role is of a bold independent girl. She does perform her role justifiably.
Vikrant Messy who is known to deliver noteworthy performances impresses with this one as well. All the other supporting actors pull off their roles convincingly in support of the story.
Music: The songs ‘Le Li Jaan’ and ‘Jigi Jigi’are passable but the back-ground score really holds the movie and support the visuals perfectly.
Final Verdict: Lipstick Under My Burkha is definitely a mirror of reality for the patriarchal society, a mirror which they would refuse to see. There is a thing with freedom, the more you try to supress, the more one strives to be free! Freedom is every human being’s basic right and need, if not given rightly then it may be taken in ways that might not be right according to the morals or otherwise.
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