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A month after the Film Certification Tribunal (FCAT) cleared filmmaker Prakash Jha’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, directing censor board to pass it with an ‘A’ certificate, the film has got a release date. It will arrive in theatres on July 28.
Directed by debutante Alankrita Srivastava, the much-acclaimed drama features Konkana Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Brothakur. It follows four small town Indian women between the ages of 18-55 – A burkha clad college girl, a young beautician, a mother of three and an aging widow – who decide to assert their personal and sexual rights.
Producer Ekta Kapoor has come on-board as a presenter and pan-India distributor for the film. It so happened that Jha, who has produced the film, invited Ekta to watch it. “Ekta is someone who has always done some path breaking work and with a lot of her women characters, she’s inverted the power structure on television, making the woman protagonist the epicentre of power. She’s a strong and dynamic studio head. In that sense she has a strong feminist pulse and I was very keen to know what she felt. And as soon as she finished watching it, she told me she and her studio wanted to present it to a much wider audience. I thought it would be fantastic for the film,” Jha said in a statement.
Impressed by the film’s intent to celebrate women and their sexuality, Ekta decided to be a part of it. “I entered the screening knowing i was going to watch a well appreciated film, but not only was I totally blown away by the content, I felt it was both credible and entertaining. Rarely do we have credible entertainers that stimulate the mind and are peppered with spunk and humour. Lipstick Under My Burkha, signifies a rebellion of the mind and is a film that celebrates women and their sexuality. I believe that this is story that needs to be told and wanted to put all the muscle behind a film like this,” she said.
Getting a release date is the biggest victory for the makers of Lipstick Under My Burkha, as till a month ago, there was no certainty about its future. The movie, which has won accolades at several international film festivals, was denied a release back home after Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) refused to grant it a certificate. In its justification, CBFC had said that the “women in the film are shown in bad light, particularly targeting women of certain community which might hurt sentiments.”
Following the CBFC’s decision, Jha and Srivastava had filed an appeal in the FCAT. The FCAT, headed by former Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin, observed that the CBFC “misdirected themselves in denying certification” to the women-oriented film.