The Secret Sex Lives of our Buajis

Pop Culture

The Secret Sex Lives of our Buajis

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


here are many reasons to watch Lipstick Under My Burkha. There are the interior lives of ordinary women, there are powerhouse performances, and there is also the satisfying feeling of flipping off Pahlaj as the credits roll in. But perhaps the biggest reason to watch LUMB (and also the reason that Pahlaj didn’t want you watching it) is for Ratna Pathak Shah’s Buaji.

Buaji is character we all know in real life. She’s a 55-year-old withered widow, the owner of a sweet shop located in the crowded lanes of some small town in India (Bhopal, here). But this Buaji comes with a twist. She shuns her identity as the matriarchal figure of the families around her, and metamorphoses into Usha Parmar, the erotic fiction devourer, demanding an outlet to her unbridled sexual desire. Buaji’s urgent release comes in gasps and repeated moans, as she sits aroused, barebacked in her bathroom, having unashamed phone sex with a much younger boy-toyish swimming coach.