By Ayesha Nair Feb. 27, 2017
After receiving backlash for refusing to certify Lipstick Under My Burkha, censor board chief makes a heartfelt entry in his personal diary.
Last week I refused to certify some film about make-up and shit pretty much hit the ceiling. LOL, J/K. The movie isn’t really about lipsticks, it is about some people who are not men. It’s ALL about women. Like just about women, all the way through. First of all who did they think would be interested in such a movie?
There are four girls in the film. That’s three too many. What was wrong, I ask you, back in the day when there was one heroine and one hero and the hero had to stalk and harass the girl to prove that he loved her? Good old-fashioned romance, I say.
This Lipstick Under My Burkha film has nothing old-fashioned about it. There’s this girl who is constantly posing for s*xy selfies. These are the same girls who complain when they receive di*k pics. I mean seriously! If they post photos of simple things like headphones nobody will bother them. And the film is about women’s “fantasy above life”. Like a woman questioning the fact that she is being used as a baby-making machine. Who else will be baby-making machines? Men?
The fantasy doesn’t stop there. There’s also something about marital rape. And about this old aunty who is exploring her s**uality when she knows fully well that this is the time for her to take care of her grandchildren, meditate, or maybe die. I was like now you are making things up. All this ambition, striving to have a marriage of equals, and wanting to take control of your s**uality is a fantasy. Nothing like this ever happens. No woman thinks or feels like this. Women do not like sex. This film should really be released with a sci-fi tag.
Lipstick Under My Burkha also has a bit “sensitive touch about one particular section of society”. We all know that the women from this community have been trying to make their voice heard. But nobody can anyway hear them from behind the veil, so it does not really matter whether they are unhappy about things happening in threes. I love things that happen in threes like Masti, Grand Masti, and Great Grand Masti.
Another film series I loved without cuts was the Kyaa Kool Hai Hum trilogy. I mean Ekta is bae and her serials are so progressive. Every woman should wear make-up at night to make sure her husband feels happy in the morning when he sees her. I even enjoyed her brother’s role in Mastizaade. Especially the scene where Sunny Leone places a coin on Tusshar Kapoor’s crotch and goes on to seduce him. I love the way Tusshar gets excited and the coin explodes through the roof and enters the backside of a gay man. It really showed society how heterosexuality defeats homosexuality. We even wanted to give the film a “U” certificate to show it in schools, but what to do with our liberal media?
Dear diary, the thing that these liberals do not understand is that cinema is about escaping reality not facing it, which is why I refused to let Lipstick Under My Burkha pass. Did you see the letter I sent to the filmmakers which was also tweeted by that “mard” Farhan Akhtar? In that we cited the guidelines under which we refused to certify the film. That’s the system. I’m just following the rules. Don’t hate the player, hate the people who make movies that challenge patriarchy.
I have judged Lipstick Under My Burkha in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact.
First, films must not offend human sensibilities by vulgarity, obscenity, or depravity. And if the scene in which an old aunty is getting her underarms waxed is not obscene then I don’t know what is.
Second, movies must not degrade or denigrate women in any manner. And I know some people will be like, “Bro, what about item songs?” To them I say, item songs are fine because they are so colourful. And India is a colourful land so I am upholding Indian culture.
(IMO, no movie respected women and Indian culture better than Masti. It was so great to see the boys describe their relationships with the exoticness of food. Baharwaali is biryani, gharwaali is daal.)
Third, films can show s**ual violence against women only when the script absolutely demands. For instance, the much-needed scene in Dil when Aamir Khan makes Madhuri Dixit believe that he is going to rape her. How else would she fall in love with him?
Fourth, films must not have visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious, or other groups. Just look at the films I’ve certified in the past. Chennai Express was such a beautiful portrayal of the people from the part of India that’s below Goa. Or how Housefull 3 was a light-hearted take on the lives of handicapped differently abled people.
I have judged Lipstick Under My Burkha in its entirety from the point of view of its overall impact. But when I tried explaining this, everyone lost their shit crap. People started calling me names and bringing up things I had done in the past. I don’t even remember that Phantom menace Udta Punjab. (Note to self: Watch out for Anurag Kashyap’s next film). I don’t get it. Why are they being so stubborn?
So what if this Lipstick movie won awards at film festivals? Like the Oxfam Best Film on Gender Equality Award at MAMI. Everyone knows that Kiran Rao’s MAMI is too liberal. Why can’t she be like her husband? I fully enjoyed his film about a man trying to fulfil his dream through his daughters.
This Lipstick-wali Alankrita should make more movies like that instead of saying things like “refusing to certify the film is an assault on women’s rights”. The film’s producer Prakash Jha too has to stop accusing me of discouraging filmmakers from pushing the envelope by not letting them tell uncomfortable stories. For your information, Mr Jha, this movie did not make me uncomfortable. As I watched it, the only thing I felt was a slight tingling in my undies and then I had to rush to the toilet. And that’s also one of the reasons why I won’t certify the film. I don’t want other men to go through the same thing.
As Bieber rightly said, “I’m a survivor… I’m not gon’ give up.”
Ayesha Nair finds time to write between buying books, obsessing over celebrities and mindlessly scrolling through social media. Also, her tombstone will read 'Died of Facebook envy'.