The release of filmmaker Prakash Jha’s upcoming production “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, starring Konkona Sensharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, has hit a roadblock after the censor board refused to certify the film.
Listing the reasons for denial of certificate, Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in a letter, posted by Bollywood celebrities online, wrote, “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines (sic).”
The film’s director Alankrita Shrivastava criticised CBFC’s decision saying it is an “assault on women’s rights” and she will fight till the end to get her film released.
“I believe the decision to refuse certification to our film is an assault on women’s rights. For too long the popular narrative has perpetuated patriarchy by objectifying women or minimising their role in a narrative.
“So a film like ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, that challenges that dominant narrative is being attacked because it presents a female point of view. Do women not have the right of freedom of expression?,” she said in a statement.
The director said she is determined to fight the decision till the end to ensure that Indian audiences watch movie.
“The real issue is the systematic suppression of women’s voices and the throttling of freedom of expression.” The film has won the Oxfam Award for the Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival and the Spirit of Asia prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani has confirmed the the board’s decision to refuse certificate to the film and said that makers can approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) to get the film released.
“The film was not cleared by examining committee and then it went to revising committee which also declined certification. The makers can now approach FCAT and get it cleared from there,” Nihalani told PTI.
This is not the first time Jha has faced problem with the censor board – the director was asked to make several cuts in the film and was also given an ‘A’ certificate. Jha later approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal and got a clean chit for the Priyanka Chopra-starrer.
When asked to respond to Shrivastava’s claim that the decision was an attempt to curb freedom of expression, Nihalani said, “It is not the first film in the history of censor board to not get certification. We don’t go out and tell which film gets certificate and which does not. It is their freedom of expression.
“Prakash Jha is an experienced filmmaker and he successfully managed to get his last film ‘Jai Gangaajal’ released without cuts. It is his right to approach the tribunal and the court to get his film cleared.”
Besides Konkona and Ratna Pathak, “Lipstick Under My Burkha” also features Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey and Shashank Arora.
The decision has attracted criticism from Bollywood celebrities like Farhan Akhtar, Vishal Dadlani and Renuka Shahane.
Actress-turned-director Pooja Bhatt has revealed that a man has been posing as her agent and taking funds from event companies on her behalf.
The 44-year-old “Jism” filmmaker says she is “horrified” by this incident and plans to take police action against the man named Prashant Malgewar from Solitude Lifestyle Inc.
“Horrified that a man called Prashant Malgewar-Solitude Lifestyle Inc is masquerading as my agent and taking funds from event co’s on my behalf,” Pooja tweeted.
“This is a very DANGEROUS trend. Strict action needs to be taken against Prashant Malgewar(Soulitude Lifestyle Inc) as this amounts to FRAUD. Prashant Malgewar is NOT my agent or representative. He is a fraudster who needs to be booked for claiming he does,” she further wrote.
Pooja wondered how reputed companies could not call the man’s bluff and gave him money without even asking for a signed invoice from her.
“A man walks into a reputed event co’s office, claims money on my behalf & no-one there asks for authentication or a signed invoice from me?
“Have to file a complaint against Prashant Malgewar (Soulitude Lifestyle Inc) New Delhi with both Mumbai Police and Delhi Police for fraud.”