The release of filmmaker Prakash Jha’s new film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’, starring some major actors has been stopped after the censor board refused certification.
Listing reasons for denying certification, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) said “ the story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contaminating sexual scenes, abusive words,audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about a particular social segment, hence the film has been refused under guidelines (sic).”
The film’s director criticized the CBFC decision saying it is an “assault on women’s rights” and she would struggle to get the 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 encouraged patriarchy by objectifying women or minimizing their role. So a film like this, challenging that dominant narrative is being attacked because it presents a feminist perspective. Do women not have the right of freedom of expression?” she asked in a statement.
She added “The real issue is the systematic suppression of women’s voices and throttling freedom of expression.”
The film won the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival and the Spirit of Asia prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, the CBFC chief Pahlaj Nihalani confirmed the board’s decision refusing certification and said its makers can approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) for releasing this film.
This is not the first time Jha has faced difficulties with the C.B.F.C.
When asked to respond to the claim that the decision was attempting curbing freedom of expression,the C.B.F.C. chief said, “It is not the first film in the history of this to not be certified. We don’t publicly express which film gets certification and which doesn’t.”
He however recommended Prakash Jha as an experienced filmmaker who successfully managed to get his last film ‘Jai Gangaajal’ released.
Besides Konkona and Ratna Pathak, Lipstick Under My Burkha also features Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey and Shashank Arora.
The C.B.F.C. decision has led to criticism from some Bollywood celebrities.