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Talk about sexuality (from the male point of view) and we might have an open mind. But, have women talking about sexuality and our hypocritical society freezes up.
This mentality has been witnessed by Alankrita Shrivastava, director of Lipstick Under My Burkha while getting certification for her film from Central Board of Film Certification. The board denied her certification, citing that the film is “lady oriented” and has objectionable “sexual scenes”.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is a film revolving around the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for different kinds of freedom, exploring their sexual fantasies. The refusal of Central Board came on the grounds of showing women in a bad light.
Now, the head of the Censor Board has had some interesting past as far as making films with sexually explicit scenes and words are concerned.
The hypocrisy in this instance lies in the fact that the same head of the Censor Board who turned it down has also produced films where he insisted on a song like this which is full of sexual implications – watch it here.
I express my apologies for subjecting you to this, but the intention needed a second thought. It is not the expression of sexuality that outrages them, but the fact that here are women talking about sexuality and expressing it unabashedly. In an era when we are moving towards the balance of equality, actions like these show that we are very far from any sign of success.
“I will fight this out till the very end, and do whatever it takes because this is not about my film. The real issue is the systematic suppression of women’s voices and the throttling of freedom of expression,” says Alankrita Shrivastava, the Director.
It indeed is a slap on women’s voices.
While no one questions such expressions when its about male section of the society, but discussing it from the point of view of women is still a taboo in India. As soon as we dig into the roots of this mindset, we reveal preconceived notions of how a woman should behave and act.
There are set standards on the manners expected of women. Even the sense of liberty comes with limits imposed on them. Dress according to your choice, but there are limits on the scale of skin-show. Voice your feelings but within some parameters. As the title of Alankrita Srivastava’s film depicts – Lipstick Under My Burkha, have women talking about sexuality – sexual desires and fantasies – and it becomes inadmissible to reveal to the world. Only for women.
Though the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has now approved the film for release with perception of empowerment and assertion of women rights. Prahalad Nihalani who has produced movies with objectionable content and songs is now trying to bring morality in cultural values and claims to serve the nation. I find that quite ironic, in the truest sense.
Why is it so hard to accept the expression of what comes naturally? Not the matter of sexual fantasies that is important, but the freedom of choice and expression to women as human.