Lipstick under My Burkha | Movie Review

Attributes: Movie Reviews

Director: Alankrita Srivastava

Producer: Prakash Jha

Cast: Ratna Pathak, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey

Rating: 4/5

A fair picture of long-standing patriarchy and deep misogyny

After winning a tough battle against the threat of a ban by uncomfortable CBFC, writer-director Alankrita Srivastava finally released the awaited ‘Lipstick under My Burkha’ giving everyone the finger.

How hard is it to have financial independence, to pursue your singing talent, to move to a big city for a better career or to simply enjoy life? The film talks about the mechanics of daily life to achieve these simple desires in our male-dominant society in the most charming manner with humor scattered along the way.

Patriarchy is patriarchy even when couched in gentle terms. Lipsticks, in the film, are these desires while the Burkha depicts our patriarchal society. The film never cheers feminism or talk about women of any particular religious group but narrates the stories of four different women (AGAIN: irrespective of their religion) who are fighting our male chauvinist society and mindset in the most upfront manner.

The film’s four stories: Shireen (Konkona) is a housewife and mother of three hides her job from her oversexed, unloving and brutish husband (Sushant); Buaji Usha (Ratna) is a 55-year-old woman is balancing her life by digging out a character from the pulp lit that she reads and using the fictional figure’s ideas to light up her own dull days and nights; Leela (Aahana) is a beautician and a free-spirited woman who has ambitions that go way beyond the confines of her current calling but is engaged to a man she barely knows; Rihanna (Plabita) a Miley Cyrus fan who feels mighty suffocated in the Orthodox family of a tailor, wants to wear jeans and sing.

The narrative flits from the slice of one woman’s life to another. Where the performances of female leads are extremely breezy in its audacity, the portrayal of men in the movie is perfectly relatable ranging from the out rightly horrid (the rapist husband) to the socially conditioned (the controlling father, the sweet but boring fiancé) and the confused (the lover).

What the film says is something we’ve always known but never really thought about. “Confinement is not associated only with a burkha but with any kind of restriction, sanctioned by long-standing patriarchy and deep misogyny.” 


Overall, the army of talented and well-chosen actors, authentic and relatable location, Bhopal and a very subtle narration made the movie to shine brightly. There is as much to smile about as to weep over in this realistic blend. It has the ability to shake you up and make you feel unsettled!


I give it 4 out of 5 shors!

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