The much-awaited “Lipstick Under My Burkha” is a bold and brutally honest film about the unbridled dreams of four women, trapped in their lives owing to societal norms and stereotypes.
Set in a middle-class mohalla (locality) in Bhopal, the film centres around the lives of the four protagonists – Usha Parmar aka Buaji, (Ratna Pathak Shah), an elderly widow, who supresses her deep-seated physical desires, Shireen Aslam (Konkona Sen Sharma), a sales girl who does a job without her husband’s knowledge as she is a mere sex object for her husband who has scant regard for her feelings, Leela (Ahana Kumra), who loves a photographer Arshad (Vikrant Massey), and Rehana (Plabita Borthakur), a collegian who is a musician at heart and finds her ‘burkha’ stifling as it confines her.
How each of them lead an unhappy and uncomfortable life and secretly long to be someone else, forms the crux of the film.
Although the four protagonists are not related to each other in the film, the dexterous manner in which their lives are interwoven is laudable and speaks volumes for the cleverly crafted screenplay.
The actors portray their characters with panache and sincerity, each one becoming the character they are essaying.
Ratna Pathak Shah although distinct in her typical style, essays the sexually repressed Buaji’ with the requisite restraint and candour befitting her calibre as an actor. Konkona Sen Sharma as Shireen, is brilliant as always but does not offer anything that one has not seen her do before. It is Plabita as the split personality Rihana who steps out of her ‘burkha’ and is a different person who renders a realistic performance, as does Ahana Kumra. She is a bohemian, dauntless girl who is unapologetic about her physical needs and lives life on her terms.
Sushant Singh as the chauvinistic husband of Shireen Aslam is natural and convincing. Vikram Massey as Arshad, essays his character with honesty and is impressive. Other actors in supporting roles like the swimming instructor, Rehana’s father and Dhruv, Rihana’s friend, are equally sincere and praiseworthy.
Director Alankrita Shrivastava, manages to take the audience into the lives of her four protagonists with ease. The layered screenplay debunking myths about women in small towns and their bottled-up dreams and desires is well-written. The use of erotica which ‘Buaji’ secretly reads to propel the narrative forward, metaphorically linking it to the lives of all four protagonists is astutely handled.
There are times when the situations in the film seem a tad exaggerated and sometimes unnecessary, but presumably, Alankrita takes those liberties to establish the regularity and consistency of her protagonists’ lives.
The last scene appears a bit theatrical and forced to establish the supremacy of women over society in context of the realisation of their dreams, yet ties, in the lives of the four protagonists succinctly.
Technically, the film is skillfully mounted with moderate production values. The editing by Charu Shree Roy deserves a special mention.
Overall, the hype surrounding this film is bound to get you to watch it and disappoint it won’t. (IANS)
Our Rating: ****
Is the CBFC the new villian for the directors and their films?
Well it seems so and that is why they are called the ‘Censor Board’ where they are censoring everything left right and centre and more so after Mr Phalaj Nihalani has taken over. The directors are getting cautious day by day of the scenes in their movies if they want it to pass smoothly through the board.
The latest example of it being the Ajay Devgn starrer Baadshao where director Milan Luthria has decided to trim the 10 minute long love making scene before sending out the film to CBFC for certification, Milan decided to self censor the film as he doesn’t want to get in trouble with the board.
Although the scene has “aesthetically shot”,he apparently cut some portions of the scene which included kissing and bareback and now has sent it to the ‘Sanskaari CBFC’ to get a U/A certificate which was not possibe if the scenes were kept. But in all this where are we heading to? The primitive films were a kiss was shown by two flowers touching each other…
Hope this action by the director impresses the board and the film releases without hiccups.
Yashraj Films has released the trailer of debutants Aadar Jain and Anya Singh starrer Qaidi Band yesterday and it looks quite promising.
The film revolves around 7 under trail prisoners who hope high on their freedom, and in the same context make a band. They are then held in longer for political purposes and they fight back.
The film is slated to release on August 25th and is directed by Habib Faisal.
Shraddha Kapoor has stolen the show with the Haseena Parkar trailer and she is definitely giving everyone serious acting goals. Playing the fierce queen of underworld god mother Haseena she is successful in showing how shrewd and big a mastermind she was and the film shows her journey from a young bubbly girl to a fierce and scary woman.
Her grey avatar followed by the gritty and non-emotive modulated heavy voice and straight face is far from the roles that Shraddha has portrayed earlier. She has done complete justice to the character and the hard-hitting dialogues leave a mark on the audience too. The film stars Shraddha as the infamous sister of Dawood Ibrahim, Haseena. Shraddha’s own brother Siddhanth Kapoor will be seen playing the don. The film is slated to release on August 18th and we just can’t wait for it now.
It’s the season of controversies and the latest to join the bandwagon is Madhur Bhandarkar ‘Indu Sarkar’. Based on the 21-month Emergency between 1975 and 1977 imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the film has run into opposition from the Congress, which is demanding that the film be screened first to them before it is sent to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). The Congress have in a way taken up the job of the Censor Board upon themselves and want to judge whether scenes or words should be deleted. Or indeed, whether the whole subject is unsuitable.
But according to Bhandarkar, he asserts that the movie is not a documentary, but a work of fiction. The movie is based on the story of a husband and a wife, who have contradictory opinion about the Emergency. It’s about the clash of points of view and the backdrop of the movie is the Emergency. Also, the film is also facing a backlash from the Congress regarding the depiction of their leaders in the film, and thus the disruption of the film’s press conferences which was cancelled a few days ago.
Thereafter, Bhandarkar tweeted and shared the news citing the team of the movie was left stranded “like hostages in the hotel room.”
“Congress workers have barged in the Hotel lobby & created ruckus; me & team are stranded like hostages in hotel room. #pune activity cancelled,” he tweeted.
So much for us being a democratic country, where freedom of expression is a fundamental right but where a creative person cannot show his creativity in a work of fiction. The film is slated for a release on 28th July if all goes well, fingers crossed.
There are no further details on what the photoshoot, possibly a lingerie ad, is about. There is just a cryptic ‘coming soon’ announcement.
The former Miss India will be seen next in Baadshaho with Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi
Ranbir Kapoor as Jagga is brilliant. He lives his character on screen, which is sparkling and lively. He is aptly supported by Katrina Kaif as the London returned journalist Shruti Sengupta, who is hunting for leads in her story on the war against global terrorism. She plays the dumb-damsel with loads of bad luck on her side, to perfection. She is effortless in her comic timing and action.
Saswata Chatterjee as Jagga’s foster father Badal Bagchi, and a harbinger of “bad luck” is equally brilliant. Saurabh Shukla in a convoluted role chasing Badal is stereotypical and flat.
The plot of the film is sketchy and begins on a shaky note, but the scenes roll out seamlessly in dream-like sequences thanks to the brilliant editing by Akiv Ali and Ajay Sharma. Also, Director Anurag Basu’s frame composition shows his mastery over his craft.
The music by Pritam Chakraborty adds to the flavour of the narration. The songs in the film help to take the narrative forward as well as drive home a lesson. Striking among them are, “Sab khana khake, daru peeke, chale gaye,” and “Galti se mistake,” which is replete with philosophy and life lessons.
The choreography by Shiamak Davar is fresh and invigorating as each song is artistically presented.
Shot across terrains in Manipur, Kolkata and South Africa, Cinematographer S. Ravi Varman’s lens captured the locales in their full glory along with the animals of the region.
Overall, with a run time of two hours and forty-five minutes, there are moments when you inadvertently end up snatching forty winks. (IANS)
Our Ratings: **