The movie Lipstick Under My Burkha is a brutal attack on patriarchy. No wonder the CBFC had a problem with it. But thanks to the controversy it generated a huge buzz and many people are in theatres to see it (besides perverts that is), who would have otherwise missed it. It is doing good business even in small towns (How do I know? I live in one). The movie is exceptional because of the way it shows women as they are. Messy, emotional, pliable, virtuous, out of control, not always keeping it together, and certainly not perfect but beautiful, flawed creatures.
Four women in different stages of life. It is set in Bhopal though it could be any small town in India. Ratna Pathak Shah is outstanding as ‘Buaji’, an identity slapped on her for so long that she has forgotten what her name is. She rediscovers romance and wants to live and love a little but at her age it’s a taboo. A college student played by Plabita Borthakur, Rehana, longs to leave her burkha behind and dance with abandon. A beautician played by Aahana Kumra, Leela, wants to live life on her own terms unafraid of societal diktats. A tormented housewife, Shirin, played by Konkona Sen Sharma, is saddled with an abusive husband with no way out.
We see the different ways women are subjugated. It was depressing to see how they go about their lives trying to fulfill their desires in secret. The only way to live out their dreams and fantasies is when they are hidden from the world, their families, neighbours, everyone. If it is an inhospitable environment for their dreams imagine the world they are living in. They go to immense lengths to conceal their true selves just to live in this world without being ostracized.
It is always women who lead lives of quiet desperation. Mostly. There wouldn’t be a woman in the country who wouldn’t identify with at least one of the characters.
It’s that rare film where every actor is perfectly cast. Vikrant Massey (Leela’s love interest) and Sushant Singh (Shirin’s husband) are fantastic in their roles, especially the latter which could have easily been a caricature in the hands of a lesser actor. I’m yet to see A Death in the Gunj but Vikrant Massey is superb here as the on-again-off-again boyfriend. Continue reading “Lipstick Under My Burkha”
A snake is standing guard at the entrance ready to swallow me. If due to the fear I don’t walk on the path that leads to my destiny and allow the crippling fear to rule over me so that I am rooted to the spot, where does that leave me? The imaginary hisses in my ear bothering me so that I can’t get out of bed, fearing that under it a great big snake is waiting to snap at my ankles and that will be the end of me.
Time to put my feet down on solid ground, snake or no snake, and take a step towards reclaiming my life.There will be no knight in shining armour. There is no wizard with a wand. That’s fine as I’m not a damsel in distress anyone else can rescue. It’s only me and my wits. Bodily strength has deserted me but still enough remains to help carry myself to the other side. Shield the feet with slippers. Pack a knapsack with essentials and start walking. It all starts with a decision to get out of the bed.
Wish you would budge Mr Snake, and give me enough space to pass. I want to go in the direction of the road you are blocking.
Why, my little lass, you are asking for permission. My dear, if only you would have demanded, I would have let you go because that meant you had been brave enough to say what you wanted and meant it. But you are unsure my dear, hence the request. Unsure about the path you want to take. Unsure about a mere decision. Go back and ruminate on it. Come back when you are ready to fight and standby your decision. Shoo. Go.
You will find me standing guard, waiting…
“You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.”
What a bad dream I had last night. Probably the worst thing I have ever seen or will ever see.I woke up with a jolt and realized that it’s alright, it’s just a dream. It was a wake up call,both literally and figuratively. Everything that I could ever want and the all people I could ever love are right here in my life. This is the life that I had dreamt of. I had on rose tinted glasses so thick that I didn’t realize that it was real life and not a dream. It’s as if I was drugged and oblivious to my own life. As if I had been looking from the sidelines waiting for something better to happen and someone better to come along, never realizing that this is the only life I have got and I have to make it count. In this lifetime not the next.
I’m an old soul and a weary one at that. Always have been. I wonder where has all the time gone and is this how my entire life is going to pass by, without me actually living it (for most part). For better or worse I still have the ability to laugh at myself and I believe it’s an important thing. It allows me to survive without drowning in gloom and wallowing in self pity. Time to buck up and go to the department or I will be late and will be made to stand outside the class!!
The present is everything it could be and more if I give it a chance. The message from all quarters is clear-just live.
Have a soulful Saturday folks !