In February, Indian sex comedy Lipstick Under My Burkha was banned from release across the country after the censor board found it to be "lady oriented". While the Alankrita Shrivastava-directed project has not been able to screen at a local cinema, it may find itself heading to the Golden Globes.
The film was screened at the opening of the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) last week and by doing so, became eligible for the Golden Globes Awards. "We are honoured that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has chosen our opening night film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, to be an official Golden Globes qualifying screening," IFFLA director Christina Marouda said ahead of the screening. "The director of the film will now have the opportunity to properly plan a Golden Globes campaign should she choose to submit the film for nomination."
The movie, which stars Indian actresses Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, tells the story of four women (two of whom are Muslim) on a journey of self discovery. They aim to break away from the restrictions put forth by a misogynistic society.
While the film was praised for shedding light on the personal desires of these small-town women, India's Central Board of Film Certifications did not have the same opinion and rejected their application for certification. "The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contentious sexual scenes, abusive words, and audio pornography... hence [the] film [is] refused," it explained of the decision.
Shrivastava was said that being made eligible was a big leap for her and the team but she plans to keep fighting the censor board so that the movie can release in India as well. "I am trying to get a censor certificate, so that the film can release in theatres. I'm fighting to legitimise the existence of my film. A film without a censor certificate is much like a child without a birth certificate," she told the Huffington Post India.
"It was an unfair decision to refuse certification to Lipstick Under My Burkha. I'm currently in the process of appealing to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) for the reversal of the CBFC decision. I am hopeful that something positive will emerge."
The film has already premiered at the Tokyo Film Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival and Miami International Film Festival.