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Lipstick Under My Burkha Review by Bollywood Hungama
Lipstick Under My Burkha gives no time to audiences to get used to the unconventional premise. It straight away delves into the lives of these ‘wonder women’ and this might be unsettling for viewers. But in 15 minutes, things get better. The characters and their situations are very real. The four principle characters are very easy to identify with and it’s a pleasure to witness their quest, as they go about fulfilling their (simple) desires, but with utmost secrecy. Although amusing at first, it is also saddening to know what all women go through in small towns to act upon their wishes.
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review by Shubhra Gupta on Indian Express
Sometimes the threat of a ban is the best thing to happen to a film. Especially if the filmmakers decide to fight back, and win: from being the kind of film which potentially could have remained a festival-fringe, Lipstick Under My Burkha has arrived in theatres this week, all guns blazing, giving us the finger. And I can tell you that it’s absolutely worth your time, and your thoughts: this is exactly the kind of film we need more of, with its deep, personal, political and powerful look into women’s lives, which says what it needs to, and makes its points, without being preachy or polemical, or beating our heads with
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review by Tushar P Joshi on Bollywood Life
A must watch for some terrific performances by the lead cast, Lipstick Under My Burkha will hopefully bring to light some issues that need attention and start a discussion or a conversation between women who are struggling for the most basic right in life – one to be happy.
Review by Nihit Bhave on The Times Of India
The women portraying these lives on screen give Lipstick… its true color. Plabita and Aahana are instantly relatable and light up the screen. Konkona’s helplessness makes you think about every woman who is a second-class citizen in her own home. And Ratna’s infatuated Usha, a woman in the throes of passion, will make you look at older women in a new light. While cinematographer Akshay Singh uses tight close-ups in cramped spaces to make you claustrophobic, Gazal Dhaliwal’s lines range from hilarious innuendos in seedy novels to out-of-character outbursts of frustrated women.
Review by Sweta Kaushal on Hindustan Times
Alankrita has an army of wonderful actors to support her engaging movie. Be it Sushant, Konkona, Plabita, Ratna, Vikrant or Aahana, all of them belong to their characters and are impressive. This is one of those rare films in which it is difficult to pick a favourite but Konkona’s performance rises among them as she is the one who is not dependent on others to fulfil her desires. Not to complain about others’ dreams as they simply happen to be such that cannot be completed without others’ help.
Review by IANS on Sify
Director Alankrita Shrivastava, manages to take the audience into the lives of her four protagonists with ease. The layered screenplay debunking myths about women in small towns and their bottled-up dreams and desires is well-written. The use of erotica which ‘Buaji’ secretly reads to propel the narrative forward, metaphorically linking it to the lives of all four protagonists is astutely handled. There are times when the situations in the film seem a tad exaggerated and sometimes unnecessary, but presumably Alankrita takes those liberties to establish the regularity and consistency of her protagonists’ lives.
Review by Harshada Rege on DNA India
Yes, it’s a movie with noble intentions, and yes, it is a festival favorite, but it’s flaw that is that while all the stories eventually come home, it’s all heartbreak. While you would argue that’s reality. But bottom line is, the audience wants entertainment at least hope. While open-ended movies have their charm, all four characters meeting the same fate is bound to leave the audience feeling cheated. It ends with a cliché symbolism of freedom.
Review by Kriti Tulsiani on News18
The strength of this film, however, lies in Shrivastava’s handling of the subject. She doesn’t provide us with answers, or with superficial solutions, but just offers us a narrative, bold enough to arouse a woman’s hidden desires and valiant enough to question the patriarch mindset. In fact, the last scene takes place during the festival of Diwali wherein the lives of them four are falling apart. But does that take away their spark? Absolutely not. Even if you haven’t lived a life of restrictions, the film will feel relatable on several levels. When you’re few minutes into the film, you’d understand why it irked the Pahlaj Nihalani-led CBFC in the first place. The film is a ‘fictional’ woman’s perspective on sexual-exploration and hidden desires of women, who often resort to non-stereotypical ways, is helmed by a woman director and features four non-conformant women as leads – of course, it had to be termed ‘lady oriented’. Lipstick Under My Burkha is a rare Bollywood film, that without being preachy in its tone, serves the potential of wounding the patriarch in you. And rightly so.
Review by Vishal Verma on Glamsham
LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA is not a routine weekend phenomenon we enjoy with our families, it’s a rare occurrence on screen that demands debate, has its own voice and dares to say something important and relevant. It has its feminist tones but in a society where we have seen ladies labeled as chachi, buaji, in their households and muhalla, Buaji in this film represents those chachis and buajis, when asked to say her name by the hunk at the swimming pool she takes a pause to remember her name. LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA is not just about desires, lust and fantasies of women like buaji, it’s an attempt to make the buajis, the middle aged Shireen, the ambitious Leena and the teen Rehana find their lost identities in the society. It’s bold, thought provoking and also engaging. Go if you demand something different and cinematic this weekend. You won’t regret it.
Review by Mayank Shekhar on Mid-Day India
Either way, hard to come across such inspired writing, top-notch performances, and moments of recognition, especially if you’re a woman straddling between two centuries in the same country. Aren’t men as well? There’s much confusion, turmoil.
Review by Kunal Guha on Mumbai Mirror
Ratna Pathak Shah delivers on her Buaji’s closeted desires with decided restraint and rehearsed uncertainty and is the finest of the lot. Konkona’s submissive Shireen silences her screams and snubs her husband’s lover with equal determination. Debutant Aahana Kumra essays her feisty Leela with the enthusiasm of a newcomer and the restraint of a veteran. That Plabita Borthakur’s Rehaana had the weakest plot link here, doesn’t undermine her performance.
Review by Jaidev Hemmady on Movietalkies
What works for the film is that despite being such a serious subject, the director has been wise enough to serve it up with generous toppings of humour, without which, the film could have been a ‘rona-dhona wala’ movie and may have lost its appeal. But when a film makes you chuckle while sending across a message at the same time, filmmaker has clearly won.
Review by Rohit Bhatnagar on Deccan Chronicle
Lipstick Under My Burkha is surely a brave attempt by the makers, but going by the promos, don’t expect it to be an intense drama of women’s misery. The film touches upon serious issues but with a humorous flair. This tale of women’s equality and liberation is a mirror of real India.
Review by Sreehari Nair on Rediff
Lipstick Under My Burkha touches, fleetingly, upon this aspect of female bonding that is removed from the compulsions of protesting. When the film is not making points, it has some life. When it goes off into conscious revolting, it’s just distributing pamphlets.
Review by Saibal Chatterjee on NDTVMovies
Lipstick Under My Burkhabusts many a myth and serves the purpose of lifting the haze of prudery that generally surrounds the portrayal of women in Hindi cinema. It throws the whole shebang into the pot – the result is a big, big bang that is bound to ring in our ears for a long, long time.
Review by Suhani Singh on India Today
Shrivastava makes Lipstick a more immersive experience by shooting in real, crammed locations in Bhopal. The narrow streets, the dimly lit alleys and the tiny living rooms, all suggest lack of space and reinforce the need to break free. It’s when the women venture out of their homes – Buaji in the swimming pool, Rehana in her college campus and disco where she can dress in jeans, and Shirin walking into other people’s homes making a sales pitch – and are in the company of other people that you see their true, spirited selves. Shrivastava never intends to make drama queens of her heroines no matter how desolate their existence may seem to be. In between the drama is wit as evident in innuendo-filled lines such as “Yeh har tarah ke pest pe kaam karta hai (It works on all sorts of pest) when a female customer asks Shirin if an insecticide will work on her husband. (Gazal Dhaliwal gets dialogue credit and Suhani Kanwar additional screenplay). Men have minute roles to play but they are not necessarily the villains in Shrivastava’s film, but more so hurdles for her independent-minded characters and their pursuit of happiness. The women can’t do without them despite knowing how problematic they can be.
Lipstick Under My Burkha Review by Indiaglitz
The middle portions starts to mildly drag in certain scenes, but keeps the momentum intact. The only problem with this movie is that it keeps losing its grip in the middle portions of the film. The finale track for some of the characters is cluttered as well as half-baked. The ending might dissatisfy some of the viewers as it could have been slightly better. Some of the tracks after a great start ends up below expectations. Shashank Arora was average. Plabita Borthakur track needed more finesse into it. ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ displays the bold shade of feminism in an engaging as well as entertaining manner.
Review by Manisha Lakhe on Nowrunning
Indian patriarchy has long blamed western attire, make-up, and education of girls. This movie cocks a snook at traditions and expectations, showing us what women want, what women really hanker for, how empathy can bring them together, how they understand each other’s needs by just a look, a gesture. You’ll love Ratna Pathak Shah as Buaji and Konkona Sen Sharma as Shireen. But it’s the two younger girls Plabita Borthakur and Aahana Kumra who hold their own. Watch it and renew your lipstick if you are a girl, and buy your girl one, if you are a lad. But don’t miss this film. It’s reality served with dollops of humor.
Review by Meeta on Wogma
Like many “social issue” films, it is difficult to look at movies like Lipstick Under My Burkha, as just a story – like say a story of these 4 women of different ages, from different religions, with different support systems who happen to live in one area of a big city. You cannot not think of the issue they want to discuss. The movie clearly has an agenda and flaunts it on its sleeve. If it is the agenda then, I know it, I live it. Men are not all mean. The level-headed ones might not be living it, but they know and are supportive of it – at home, in the workplace. The other men are unlikely to see the film. Even if they do, they are more likely to laugh at Ushaji (like the few men in the audience where I saw the film) than become sensitive to her desires as real. How does this help? I wouldn’t have asked this question had it not come across as the one thing the film wanted to do – sensitize the viewer. Even so, Lipstick Under My Burkha can be watched for its snappy dialogue and sensitive, intense performances.
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