What are you afraid of? asks 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' team

Film Companion's Anupama Chopra talks to the team behind 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' - Ratna Pathak, Konkana Sen Sharma & director Alankrita Shrivastava ahead of the film's release. 

Here is an excerpt.

Ratna, Konkona, Alankrita, good morning and thank you for this 9 am interview.

Alankrita and Konkona: Thank you!

It is the crack of dawn by showbiz standards. But thank you for being here. I have so many questions about this film which is making headlines for reasons which must have been very difficult for all of you. What I notice now which is the first thing, that the trailer is very different now from what the trailer was. Is this a way of turning the whole censor situation, well the censor situation is now over but using that controversy to market the film. Just turning it on its head and say you know what we are going to use this. Is it?

Alankrita: Actually, the fact of the matter is that we applied for the censor certificate at the end of December. I got it in my hand on the 3rd of June that is almost 6 months. I don’t think that it should take 6 months to get certification for one’s film. So I think the film went through a lot and of course we couldn’t plan anything vis-a-vis the release. And we did feel that what the censor board had said, the reasons they had cited for refusing the certification were really illogical.

Apart from being grammatically incorrect.

Alankrita: Ya, that too.

Ratna: We need to forgive them for that. Let’s not go on about the English and all, that’s the least of our problems.

Well I didn’t understand Ratna what “contagious sexual acts.” I didn’t understand what that meant.

Alankrita: Actually the words they used were “contanious.”


Oh not even contagious!

Alankrita: It was a vey confusing thing.

Ratna: It was a confusing one.

Ok, so we didn’t even get what the problem was.

Konkona: The english was wrong but the main problem is the thinking is so backward.

Ratna: That is where the problem really is.

So for the thinking.. you had also said it’s not even something in the film because there is hardly even a shot of a cleavage in the film, there isn’t one. But the fact that it is a point of view of a woman. That’s the essential issue people seem to have with the film. And I’m sorry I didn’t even let you finish the first answer but I really need to ask this. Why do you think this is so troubling for people- a female point of view? What was your sense in the last six months?

Ratna: Who wants to go with this one?

Alankrita: Ratna, would you like to start?

Ratna: Why is it so troubling? I mean, we have been fighting this for a very long time now in various ways. I really thought we were done with it. My mom in her generation fought these kind of issues, my generation a little more you know the generation before a little more about sexual rights etc. But I didn’t realise at the age of 60 I am still facing these kind of questions and these kind of issues. On the contrary it looks like it’s going to get worse.

Konkona, did you stop to think about what it is with this film that’s making people so nervous?

Konkona: When I read the script, I have to say these things didn’t occur to us, it didn’t occur to me certainly. When one read the script it was such a nicely, well written script, well fleshed out, very authentic, it really rang true. And one never worried about what’s going to happen or people are really going to object, I guess one never thought so far ahead. But it seems like an interesting project.

Ratna: There you go, that’s the difference between one generation and another. I immediately sensed we’ll have trouble. But I didn’t think it’s going to be like this and this ridiculous form. But she having been brought up in a completely different world. This is the new Indian woman I thought. You know I’m so horrified that it’s not. Sorry go ahead.

Konkona: No no just that. And whenever actually, I didn’t think of this and that it would be so controversial and attract so much attention. Honestly, if you ask me why it is not like I know because I don’t think in that way. So it’s not like I share those feelings and I don’t get it. In fact one of the characters in the film, Rabita, who’s absolutely fantastic in the film, she asks, that question is there in the trailer- why you so scared, for you know, for our freedom? What are you so afraid of? And actually I really don’t know, why people are so scared. If it is stories about women, it’s about women’s inner lives. You know because a certain worldview, a certain point of view is kind of enforced upon us that we have to behave in certain ways or conform to certain things and if we don’t.. then there is the fear and we really don’t know why.

For the full interview, click here.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 10:47:50 PM |

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