The Indian film industry came up during the days of the Raj, that euphuism for British rule that lasted for 190 years. The film Industry started in Bombay during the British rule just after the end of the first world war. Over the decades the film industry now known as Bollywood has emerged as a formidable alternative to Hollywood It now produces the largest number of films in the world.

One of the latest offerings is " Lipstick under my Burkha". As the title suggests it is a story of 4 Muslim women who have dreams and desires akin to normal women.

The setting is a small town in India but it could be any town in Europe or the UK. All the 4 women wear Burkhas. The film is produced by Prakash Jha a big name in Bollywood. The film has however been refused certification by the censor board, though it has been shown at film festivals.

The film

The film relates the story of 4 burkha clad women each from a different age group. The common factor is that all the 4 are Muslim. The director is a 30-year-old woman Ms. Shrivastava and perhaps she is best suited to present the dreams of these 4 women on celluloid. All the 4 are Muslim though subjugated by their men, have dreams and desire like other women. The youngest is a college going girl and the second a beautician.

The third is a woman touching middle age, a housewife and mother of 3 and the last is a 55-year-old Muslim widow. The film stars Konkona Sharma and Ratna Pathak with 2 new girls Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur. The lady director details the love and dreams of these women. There is a standout performance by Ratna Pathak as the widow and her love affair with a younger man is the highlight of the film.

Women and desire

The film has some explicit love scenes which have raised the heckles of the Ulema. The director shows Muslim women making love and it is just as for any other women.

She wants to show that Islam restricts women but cannot curtail their desires. The film was premiered at the Mumbai and Tokyo film festival. It won the Spirit of Asia award and the Oxham Award for best film on Gender equality.

The future

The director has announced that she will not accept the diktat of the board and will appeal against the verdict. Mostly the high court will clear the film, but we must wait till then.