Lipstick Under My Burkha has won 7 International Awards
“The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are continuos sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film is refused.”
On 25th Jan 2017, Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, a story of 4 feisty women in small-town India finding the courage to chase their secret dreams and discover their inner desires.
Winner of multiple international awards, produced by Prakash Jha was outright rejected from obtaining a certification on the most unruly grounds on earth as mentioned above and in the letter below.
The film’s director, who has been traveling with the film globally has brought in great pride globally for the country through this film, which has been refused a platform in the very country on the most outlandish grounds ever heard.
The director today, took to facebook with a prayer and understandable discomfort that this brings to her and her work of art and we wanted a bigger audience to read it and spread it so that everyone knows what they are missing out on because of one of the most bizarre understanding of cinema and India by the people at the helm of CBFC. Do read on!
“Our tiny little film about the lives of four ordinary women, Lipstick Under My Burkha has already won 7 international awards. And this when the film is still traveling the festival circuit, with many more festivals coming up in the next few months.
But the truth is that without the CBFC certification, it is disqualified from competing for the National Film Awards in India. So unless and until the film is certified, not only can it not be watched by the people of this country in theatres, including my friends and family, it cannot compete with other Indian films for film awards in India.
How sad that is! And how pitiful. I feel perhaps a bit like an athlete running and winning races in other countries, but not allowed to run in my own country. Nobody in my country can watch me run on the track. Not even my Mother! And I cannot even get to participate in the race in my own country.
And then I think of my wonderful, brilliant actors who have put in their heart and soul into the film – Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sensharma, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur and all the others. They too are disqualified for competing for the country’s national awards. If we do not get certification for exhibition, they are not going to be considered for any awards at all from our country actually.
One can question the worth and value of awards, but one thing is certain – that it is unfair to be forcefully disqualified from competing. In a scenario when the world is welcoming the film and loving the performances, how heartbreaking that in India we are being told to hide.
Interestingly, Lipstick Under My Burkha has won an award at every festival where it has been in competition. The awards are a mix of jury prizes and audience awards.
The Grand Jury prize for Best feature Film at the 39th Festival International de Films de Femmes, Creteil, France – the oldest and perhaps most prestigious women’s film festival in the world is a really noteworthy award. Ironically, this award has been presented by the French Ministry of Women’s Affairs.
The Glasgow Film Festival Audience Award that we won is the only award at the festival and was previously won by Oscar nominated film Mustang. Again a big win! We also won the CinemAsia Amsterdam Audience Award for Best Feature Film.
The film has also won the Spirit of Asia Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Oxfam India Award for the Best Film on Gender Equality at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star. Most recently, the film won Best Film at the London Asian Film Festival where actor Ratna Pathak Shah also won an award for her standout performance.
Audiences in Miami, Tokyo, Stockholm, Glasgow, Paris, Cairo, Amsterdam, Tallinn and London have all been enjoying this very Indian film. And I cannot wait for audiences back at home in India to be allowed to watch the film now. The universe has to make this happen!
So here’s hoping that Monday the 27th of March, the date of the FCAT hearing will open up the door that enables our tiny little film to not be crushed. And people in India are finally free to watch the film in theatres, and that as a film we are free to compete with other films in India on a level playing field.
And till Sunday, I’m on edge. Not a wink of sleep, and fingers crossed!”
– Alankrita Shrivastava (Director, Lipstick Under My Burkha)
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