Lipstick Under My Burkha, Patriarchy On My Shoulder


Women, in general, have it difficult, be it the demand to prohibit triple talaq or to finally give some importance to marital rape; life remains difficult and society is possibly the only reason.

Many communities are quarreling over triple talaq or the implementation of Uniform Civil Code, which might actually help women who face severe distress when divorced over Facebook or Whatsapp. There was a huge furore over the judgment of Supreme Court which constituted that denial of sex to spouse is cruelty and can lead to divorce, conveniently ignoring the plight and the occurrence of marital rape which is also a major distress to a lot of women. There are ample of Facebook pages and Twitter Posts venting the angst of many women who are harassed when doing something as simple as walking down the road.

Stories of rape, murder, acid attack, stabbing and various other horrors are omnipresent in our everyday lives. There’s a root problem to all such scary scenarios and its nothing but the lack of respect and the lack of acceptance that women can want, need and pursue the same interests as that of men.

So many years of being a second-class citizen, has left us much more oppressed by the patriarchy for the things.

Burkha has been implemented as a symbol of oppression rather than the symbol of some cultural importance by many, inclusive of feminists. Whether it is a symbol of tyranny by the religion or is an expression of cultural need remains to be deciphered by women wearing these burkhas. We cannot speak for them and we shouldn’t either. However, there is a movie which takes quite a sexy and desirous perception of women wanting sex and sneaking out of their burkhas, which is all set to premiere at the prestigious Tokyo Film Festival as well as the Mumbai Film Festival, going under the name of Lipstick Under My Burkha, the trailer of which was released recently.

Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and produced by Prakash Jha, the film stars Konkona Sensharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur in lead roles along with Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey, Shashank Arora, Vaibbhav Tatwawdi and Jagat Singh Solanki. Set in Bhopal, the four characters appear to be an aged woman who takes on a young lover, a frustrated middle aged housewife, a sexually-charged young woman, and a college girl who wants to become a pop singer.

There is love and sex, romance and heartbreak, ambition and passion in the movie. But most of all, the film is about the small dreams of these four women, who are trapped in the claustrophobia of their lives, stuck in the patriarchy and their mundane not-so-respected lives.

In the dichotomy between tradition and modernity, lies the trapped desire of a woman. There is non-general acceptance towards the sexual want of a woman and such a want is either disrespected, character assassinated or usually made use of for further levels of harassment.

As I said, women never have it easy, even if it’s for their physical needs. Women wanting sex are either sluts or whores, while men wanting or having sex is their bodily need or a physical urge which should be fulfilled even if it means compromising the body of some other person, either, male, female or the third gender.

Here’s a movie that no longer perpetuates the myth of women not wanting sex, the same myth that Vidya Balan tried busting before. Physical urge or the desire for sex of a woman should be as normalized as it is for any man.

It’s no forbidden fruit for women. Period.


The motive of the movie remains important this time, the motive that differentiates itself from the marketing diaries, or cheesy slapstick publicity stunts, the motive that isn’t based on selling the movie, the motive that isn’t hopping on the current trend of feminism. The motive is plain and simple with this movie;

This time sex doesn’t sell, it frees.

Yugansha Malhotra

Image Source:

The Viewspaper