MAMI Review: Lipstick Under My Burkha – Having A Desire Isn’t Shameless

Posted on 28 October, 2016 by Team Wishberry

Image Courtesy:

Firstly, catching a much talked about film at a prestigious festival is no child's play. The act is nothing short of a mission. Not only are 80% of the seats pre-booked, but you’ve also got to beat the hell of a Mumbai traffic, dodge the cinema fanatics and camp outside the screen at least two hours prior to maybe have a chance to catch the much raved about chick-flick.


Alankrita Srivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha is a story of four women from a small Indian city (Bhopal) who have been living dual lives exploring their hidden desires of independence, love, sexuality, and passion. Each woman respectively represents four different generations and the shackles that have had her enslaved.


Addressed as ‘Buaji’, Usha Parmar (Ratna Pathak Shah) in her late 50s is a responsible widow who handles her family business and spends her days looking after her extended family in the twisty lanes of Hawai Manzil. While Shirin Aslam (Konkana Sen Sharma) sneakily alternates between creatively selling various home products from the company she works at in secret, to portraying to be a naïve mother of three who’s nothing but a sex slave to her Saudi return husband (Sushant Singh).


Leela Mishra (Aahana Kumra) is a no-nonsense sexually liberated woman, who alternates between running her beauty parlour to working on a business plan that’ll ensure her life further on will be spent relaxing at a honeymooners paradise. Also, living a secret life is Rehana Abidi (Plabita Borthakur), a student who has been breeding dreams of being a rock/pop star just like Miley Cyrus.


The film is spiced up with a fifth personality – Rosy, who is a character from a Mills & Boons novel that represents the longing desires of every woman who dreams of being loved, appreciated and heard.


The plot revolves around the lives of these women simply trying to live. In its comical approach, the film talks about the regressive, disturbing and self-worth crushing customs our society indulges in aptly without letting us experience a downward spiral. The narrative very cleverly uplifts our perspective and helps us address the problems women in our current society face every single day.


And the best part of it all is that the women aren’t innocent or raw, they all play a character within a character that shows hints of naivety. However, the women will make you root for them, their revelations will make you laugh, blush and even bite your lip out of excitement. The film is revolutionary, but at the same time extremely cute.


The film moves fast, despite the slow paced small town suburban life.  It brings a lot of elements that even urban women have rarely addressed – treatment of elderly women, the need of a sexual partner, indulging in a hobby, self-worth, etc.


While the lead performances are wonderful, the supporting cast is fabulous as well. However, the most unforgettable ones are the performances of Vikrant Massey and Jagat Singh Solanki. The young boys will have you amazed at their talent of portraying small town, easily ticked off, sexually starved boys, and all of it done oh-so effortlessly.


And of course, the sound score will have you elevated in your seat; the fast paced beat of the spicy small town music tweaks in a hint of adventure to the otherwise simple life lived in Bhopal. The writing is uplifting, and the direction is sound. Shrivastava who previously told a story of three girls in Turning 30, has proved her mettle with this one and I’m definitely keeping an eye out for her works in the future.


The insightful film is now scheduled to screen at two more festivals Tokyo and Stockholm; if you get a chance, do catch it.


We keep cluttering the internet with our writing.

Keep yourself updated