Lipstick Under My Burkha director Alankrita Shrivastava says the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), which refused to certify her film due to its "lady oriented" content, does not represent a major part of the progressive Indian audience.
"I think CBFC is living in a dark age and they don't represent our progressive Indian audience. I believe they have a very patriarchal mindset. Saying they are stopping the film because it is told from a woman's point of view, is clearly showing how legitimately they are silencing the voice of women in our society," Shrivastava said.
The film premiered at the Tokyo Film Festival, and has been screened at various international film festivals, where it has won awards. The film bagged the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival, and Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Jio MAMI Film Awards.
So while the film is being celebrated all over, what is stopping the CBFC from certifying the film?
She said: "Their objection is not on sexual content, because they are certifying all the films where women are objectified, those have item songs, those show various parts of women's body in an awful manner and not related to the narrative. They only allow content that caters to satisfy male fantasy."
"There are no nudity and cleavage scenes in the film. It is a story of four women who are trying to find their way out from the set rules of the society with the social barrier; living the air of their fantasy. So I did not think about any such response from CBFC while ideating the film. The film is not titillating at all."
Considering the fact that the digital medium is a wide-reaching platform, when asked if she is planning to release the film online, Shrivastava said: "No. it should be my choice as a filmmaker to choose a medium between digital and theatrical release of my film. Now, if I will release the film online, it will be (due to) a lack of choice, since CBFC is not allowing its theatrical release."
Emphasizing on the importance of film certification, she said that without a CBFC certificate a film cannot be eligible for a National Award, Oscar nomination, television viewing, et al. "The film certification legitimizes the film for mass viewing," she added.
Produced by Prakash Jha, the film Lipstick Under My Burkha features an interesting cast of Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur.