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Women can be object of desires, can’t have desires of their own

Alankrita Shrivastava, director, Lipstick Under My Burkha on CBFC’s refusal to certify the movie and more

brunch Updated: Feb 24, 2017 19:19 IST
Aanchal Tuli
Aanchal Tuli
Hindustan Times
Lipstick Under My Burkha,Alankrita Shrivastava,Censor Board
A still from Lipstick Under My Burkha(Lipstick Under My Burkha on Twitter)

Alankrita Shrivastava is getting ready for her film, Lipstick Under My Burkha’s premiere at the prestigious Glasgow Film Festival. At the same time, she’s sorting out the paperwork needed to apply to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) in Mumbai after Central Board of Film Certification’s refusal to certify or clear her film.

Talking to us from Glasgow, Alankrita said, “It’s such a contrast, the international response to the film and that of our own government bodies. The film won the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality during the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival and now here we are, fighting the same battle all over again.”

CBFC’s letter, which calls the film lady oriented and their fantasies above life (Alankrita Shrivastava )

Lipstick Under My Burkha had two screenings at CBFC. Alankrita met Pahlaj Nihalani after the second screening where he told her the panel’s decision was unanimous and not up for discussion. She shared, “He told me point blank that the committee had unanimously refused to rate the movie. He didn’t have a problem with a particular scene or segment; he had a problem with the whole film.”

Both Alankrita and the film’s producer, Prakash Jha, weren’t expecting this to happen. “After the release of films like Margarita With a Straw and Parched, I was hoping we’ll be okay. Also, look at the kind of movies that are passed without cuts. Films with double meaning dialogues and songs and worse. Thank God, there’s a tribunal (FCAT) where we can apply but frankly, why should we have to go through all of that anyway? As if we don’t face enough trouble making a film in the first place!”

But Alankrita maintains that her fight is not just about Lipstick Under My Burkha, it’s for this entire segment of movies. “We’re trying to make movies about women, presented from their points of views. We’ve been subjected to the male gaze for so many years now, which is why we need stories like these to be heard. Our films and governing bodies tell us that women can be object of desires but can’t have desires of their own. That needs to change.”

And about censorship, she says, “Why do we need a censor body anyway? Give my film an adult rating, but let it release. I trust the audience that is old enough to vote, can decide what movie they want to watch too.”

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From HT Brunch, February 26, 2017

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First Published: Feb 24, 2017 19:19 IST