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Movie Review: Lipstick Under My Burkha perfectly mirrors the harsh realities of a male chauvinistic society
After a long and bitter battle with the Censor Board which had earlier branded the movie's subject as 'sensitive', Alankrita Srivastava's Lipstick Under My Burkha finally hit the theatres on Friday.

Director: Alankrita Shrivastava

Cast: Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkana Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Shashank Arora, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi, Jagat Singh Solanki.

Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes

Rating: 4/5

The movie is a simple story about four women, their dreams, desires, and also their secret lives. Although all four women are from different age groups but they hail from the same Indian small town. The film shows their trials and tribulations as they search for freedom.

The film follows the lives of Shirin (Konkana Sen Sharma) – a sales girl, who stays with her Saudi-returned husband who visits home only occasionally (Sushant Singh); Buaji (Ratna Pathak) – a 55-year-old widow who secretly enjoys racy literature and goes to learn swimming; Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) – a college student who idolises Miley Cyrus and wants to sing in the college band but is forced to stitch burkhas every night by her parents and Leela (Aahana Kumra) – a beautician who is forced to marry a man of her mother's choice. Clipping their wings is the society which disapproves of their dreams and their kin who hold them back.

Every character in the film deals with different kinds of prejudices and restrictions. The small town setting enables the four characters to be part of each others' lives and eventually come together. This is a bold film not because it explains about women's sexuality but because it draws attention to their desires and problems in the most effective direction as per the theme and subject of the movie.

It shows the sharp contrast between the secret desires of these women and their real life in which they are forced to contend with the restrictions in a patriarchal society. But will the film's characters break the shackles of rituals, traditions and customs created by men?

All the film's female protagonists namely Ratna, Konkona, Plabita and Aahana have done complete justice to their respective roles as the script demanded. However, the real highlight of the film is veteran actress Ratna Pathak Shah's buaji, who reads an erotic novel; her character is just beyond exciting.

The direction by Alankrita Shrivastava is quite impressive. She has done well to highlight about women's latent hopes, desires, needs and wants – personally to professionally in the movie. She has also managed to extract good performances from all of them.

Lipstick Under My Burkha is truly a bold film in which every performer leaves his or her mark. But to Sen Sharma and Pathak, belong the film's finest moments, which make you feel their pain.

This is a film you must not miss as it is not only about women's hidden fantasies, their desires and sexuality but also deals with problems that are faced by women in a male dominated society. Overall, the film perfectly mirrors the harsh reality of our male chauvinistic society when it comes to issues of women empowerment.

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