Lipstick Under My Burkha is winning big in European film festivals. Meanwhile in India, the censor board is still living in the dark ages

Dear Pahlaj Nihalani, is the film still ban worthy?

Dipannita Saha Dipannita Saha Mar 20, 2017
The film continues to be acclaimed everywhere in the world. Photo: Youtube

The Censor Board of India (CBFC) may have been offended by 'lady oriented' Lipstick Under My Burkha, but that has not stopped this film from being recognized and appreciated everywhere else. It has won six awards till now and will be screened at two more international film festivals.

It recently won the award for Best Film at the Leicester Asian Film Festival, While at the International Women's Film Festival at Creteil, Paris, it bagged the Grand Jury Prize.

The film, which is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava, was premiered at Tokyo International Festival and Jio Mami Mumbai Festival last year, and won at both the places. Ever since, the film's journey has been that of accolades and appreciation.

The film is set to be screened at Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, New York Indian Film Festival, and Cleveland International Film Festival soon.

Also read: What's your problem Pahlaj Nihalani, and other thoughts on the escapist behaviour of the Indian Censor Board

Recently in an interview to the Hindustan Times, the film's producer, Prakash Jha, had expressed his shock over the certification row.

"Lipstick Under My Burkha is a beautiful film. It brings down the shallow and oppressing rules of our society, which says women can't speak about their fantasies. They are used to viewing life from a male point of view and CBFC's letter shows only that," he said.

"While the other countries are accepting this liberty in a new way and reaching to a new level, this has brought a shock to their outdated thinking in our country. What they don't understand is that by refusing certificate to a film they can't oppress this thinking," Jha added.



However, it seems that it was just CBFC that couldn't understand the merits of it. Even if you forget the fact that the film focuses on female sexuality and desires, you cannot ignore the fact that the Board's move of refusing certification sends a very negative message.

It shows that while the world is beginning to start a discourse on women empowerment, here is a country that rejects a film for being too "lady oriented".  It shows that  CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani probably doesn't understand the repercussions of a such a regressive move.

Gone are the times when films like Fire was appreciated not only internationally, but in our country as well. We now live in such times when our Censor Board tries to be the sole custodian for morality. We wonder why the authorities end up shoving down their mindset down the Indian audiences' throats.

Aren't Indian audiences capable enough to decide which film they should be watching and which ones they shouldn't be? Or are all the film aficionados little babies who cannot handle a film that talks about something as basic as women and their dreams?

Also read: Censor Board refuses to certify Lipstick Under My Burkha because it is "lady oriented"

We wonder when India and the Censor Board will grow up? We are not worried about Nihalani and his eschewed vision on films, but the legacy that we are going to leave behind. We can only hope that even though Indian authorities refused to understand the film, festivals elsewhere can give the film the recognition it deserves.

After all, films are a mirror of the society. Just because we decide to turn a blind eye, doesn't mean the reality would stop existing.

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