Indie Meme presents LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA 116 minutes / India / English subtitles Director: Alankrita Shrivastava With Actor AAHANA KUMRA in ATTENDANCE & POST SCREENING SKYPE WITH THE FILMMAKER
Preceded by the short film FOREN
Trapped in their own worlds, four women claim their desires through secret acts of rebellion.
In rural India, a burkha-clad college girl struggles with issues of cultural identity and her aspirations to become a pop singer. A young two-timing beautician seeks to escape the claustrophobia of her small town. An oppressed housewife and mother of three lives the alternate life of an enterprising saleswoman. A 55-year-old widow rediscovers her sexuality through a phone romance. Caught in a conservative society, these women set forth to break the mold, in search of a little freedom.
Alankrita Shrivastava is a feature film director and screenwriter from Mumbai, India with a penchant for telling womens stories. She likes to explore the complex interior world of women through her films.
Alankrita has written and directed two feature films - TURNING 30!!! (2011) and LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURKHA. She has worked on several Indian feature films including Raajneeti as an Associate Director, and Khoya Khoya Chand as an Executive Producer. She has also directed short films, documentaries and music videos.
I have never worn the burkha. I dont live in a small town. No one has tried to curb my freedom. I come from a fairly liberal middle-class family and I live in a metropolitan city. Yet there is always something gnawing away within me. Some chains that seem to hold me back. I never feel totally free. Perhaps I am no different from that small town woman who is dreaming of freedom. Perhaps her secret acts of rebellion are mine too. And chains are chains, be they external or internal. This oneness with the characters is what fascinates me. I feel each one of the characters is part me. This film is then perhaps my own search for freedom. The landscape of small town India is rapidly changing. So are the desires and aspirations of women. Through the colourful kaleidoscope of their world, we see these women secretly trying to live a little of their small lipstick dreams. Dodging prying eyes, battling fear, they go about their days reading what they shouldnt be, singing what they shouldnt be, feeling what they shouldnt be and wanting what they shouldnt be wanting.
From a Western perspective, perhaps their desires may seem small. But it is the smallness of their desires that makes the story poignant for me. I hope by making this film I have been able to break some new ground in exploring the complex interior world of a woman in India.
Through the four stories, I have tried to dig deep into what it means to be a woman. What it means to desire, and have the courage to act upon that desire. This story of four ordinary women in small town India, dreaming small lipstick dreams of freedom is then an important, universal story.
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