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Lipstick Under My Burkha Typifies Everything That Is Wrong With The Feminist Movement

The trailer of Alankrita Shrivastava’s film, very strategically and with thesis-like precision gives us four women from different age groups who just want to throw it(the burkha)  off and breathe easy.

The burkha is of course a metaphor. And one that Germaine Greer would have grabbed at greedily 30 years ago. Today ‘throwing off the burkha’ hardly seems revolutionary , let alone exciting as an idea for  a movie.Lately Leena  Yadav  got three rural Rajasthani women together in Parched to discuss , ahem, sex and other forbidden pleasures even as back home men continued to brutalize them .

In Parched Tannishtha Chatterjee had a secret admirer who called himself ‘Shah Rukh Khan’. In Lipstick Under My Burkha Ratna Pathak Shah has a much younger man lusting for her on the phone. Maybe both women attended the same nari bachao class.

Lipstick Under My Burkha deviates from the pseudo-feminist norm of throwing off the burkha—a variation onKaanton  se kheench key yeh aanchal where the woman must break the barriers of  the  stifling patriarchal system to be free—in one detail. The men seem rather nice and gentle here. They never are in such films. But here we have the very talented Vikrant Massey being kind—VERY kind– in bed to Ahana Kumra who was last seen playing Amitabh Bachchan’s daughter in the failed serial Yudh.We see  Sushant Singh(not Rajput) smiling benevolently at another female protagonist , and so on.

What a relief! A chick flick where the men are actually not jerks.

Make no mistake. Lipstick Under My Burkha is a full-blown chick flick serving up all the clichés of the genre and blissfully ticking all the boxes one by one. There are  four women from different generations  lunging for some  solid tumble in the hay with strangers . Ratna Pathak Shah(50 plus), Konkona Sen Sharma(30 plus), AhanaKumra(20 plus) and Plabita Borthakur(20-minus) are all in the mood to throw caution to the winds,surreptitiously buy and use lipstick(still taboo in  several convervative societies)  discuss condoms with their partners and with their gal pals, and have a smoke with the gal pals when the lights are out.Smoking, as we all know contrary to the statutory warning, is not always injurious to health.

So put up your feet, all you fans of Chetan Bhagat’s brand of designer-feminism. Lipstick Under My Burkhapromises to give the New Indian Woman a  new look under the burkha(or the dupatta  or the ghunghat). As soon she throws of the burkha and smears lip gloss , she is ready  for the kill.

Rating: ** 1/2 (two and a half stars)

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