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India bans Award Winning Film ‘Lipstick under my Burkha”

An award-winning film made in India about the lives of four Indian women has been banned in India. The movie is Lipstick Under My Burkha, and it won the Oxfam Award For Best Film On Gender Equality at the last Mumbai Film Festival. The 117-minute film revolves around the the inner lives of four small-town women, from college age to mid-50s, each grappling with different societal pressures and expectations from relationships. The title refers to the inner lives of the women that they do not reveal. Of the four protagonists, two are indeed in the head-to-toe garment (worn by Muslims all over India, where they make up 14 percent of the population) and two are Hindu and not veiled. Of course, all of them wear lipstick, even when there’s no one to appreciate it.


On February 22, the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC), a government appointed body composed of 25 members from different professions, decided the movie was a no-go. The reason: it is “lady-orientated” and contains “contentious sexual scenes, abusive words [and] audio pornography.”

Chhabra recalls an early scene where a group of women is up on a roof, catching the sun, doing everyday things like plucking their eyebrows while chatting about their lives and husbands. To him, this scene was “so warm and real.”


Many film lovers are not happy about the decision. “I hate the fact that somebody else decides what I can and can’t watch,” says Rashi Vidyasagar, a criminologist in Mumbai who works with the national commission for women at the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences. (

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