I HAVE Lipstick Under my Burkha.

I HAVE #Lipstick Under my Burkha.

Yes I do.

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I am not fake, I am not cold, I am just me, under many layers that exist because I care. Yes, I care about what people think about me, I care about being judged, I care about the choices I make, I care about being cool enough, I care about being liked enough.

 

But the whole point is…

Why can’t I just live with the fact that people don’t like me? Why do I have to be likable? Why do I need to fit into a definition of “successful”, why do “I” need to be defined?’Why do I need to bother about what answer I will give to someone somewhere 20 years later about my relationship status – it’s existence or lack of it? Why do I need to explain what I do, what I feel and why I feel it? Why do I need to justify my emotions, for that matter, my existence?

And #Lipstick Under My Burkha is that mirror.

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Through 4 women – different ages, different situations, and different personalities – we see a reality that we would casually chose to look away from, always.

Be it Rihana entering her room and dancing to beats of her anger, or Shrin’s expectant eyes when she is seeking appreciation for her work, or Leela’s desperate attempt with pout filled selfies to chose a lesser life with more ‘chance’ or Buaji’s simultaneous acceptance and rejection of social judgements on choice of her interest in ‘literature’ …they are all small details that will linger with you after the movie, and make you wonder what’s right and what’s not … and even as you answer the questions in your head, you will be surprised at how entwined in patriarchy we are and how dominant the male perspective has been, before, now and forever known.

The very fact that the movie makes NO STATEMENT whatsoever is its greatest strength!

It doesn’t say women should wear lipstick or dress bold, or work or stay hlipstick-under-my-burkha-plays-iome, it doesn’t fight for right to education, it doesn’t fight for ANYTHING and in doing just that, it wins.

I am amazed at Alankrita Srivastav’s craft in simplicity and detail, a narrative with such depth – that speaks less but says more; it manipulates you too. Yes it does! It leads you to think, question and figure out things that you would never bother about, and while you figure it out, you slowly unveil ‘feminism’ in your head, which is nothing but, a quest for equality.

What a genius! What a gift.

Majority of us, do have a burkha. And the realization in itself is empowering, it has hope in the knowledge that it’s still in your hand to lift up the veil.

Will the women in the story, do that? Will they survive it? One can’t be sure. But #LipstickUnderMyBurkha is a reality check which draws our attention to the subtle inequalities, that we could all work towards bridging.

P.s. with all the talk about the movie being too feminist, I became the censor board myself, wondering whether men  can watch it at all. But watching the film made me realize what an elegant piece it is. Yes its sexual. Yes, a little explicit too. But haven’t we seen tonnes of that already? Only the tone of the storytelling is from a female point of view this time. And when we haven’t been offended for so long, why be now?

p.p.s. I think I will take my male friends to watch this one 😉 will be an interesting experience. #WhyNot #LipstickSide #MustWatch

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Why Aarfa is a Winner in Sultan

There’s a thin line between ‘woman empowerment’ and blindly writing off a woman for making a choice that’s not ‘ambitious’ enough. I think that’s where the Firstpost blog on
Sultan gets it wrong, in context of Aarfa.

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While Anushka’s character, Aarfa, steps down from a competition to be a mother – it’s a choice she makes. It’s a sacrifice she makes not just for her husband but also weighing what she wants in life.
She has achieved, she has won and now she wants to be a mother. What’s wrong in that?
Writing off a character like that to be sexist is a hugely disparaging statement to thousands of women across India who would do that any day! But what’s empowering about Aarfa is that she doesn’t give up being a “sportsperson”, continues to train and continues to teach.
Being a feminist myself (and feminism is equal rights) I would have reacted to something sexist very strongly, but for me, Aarfa is a winner. She knows exactly what she is doing and where she is life. She is not docile or coy or dominated. She tells her husband on the face that she made a sacrifice and demands him to make one for their sake. She’s outspoken, not defeated and woman who lives by her terms and has the courage to hold her ground and dismiss the man she loves when he’s wrong. And that does take courage.
Sultan by himself maybe sexist. The way he takes her sacrifice for granted, the way he becomes arrogant, the way he forgets his people. But the film in no way endorses it. On the contrary, the film answers to the sexism with Aarfa’s perspective and actions. 
Let’s face it … that’s how we are in love.
All those who have been in love, sometime or the other know. All those in marriages or relationships know it. Sometimes, you want to put the wishes of the one you love ahead of yourself. And so the best relationships are those where both the partners make that ‘equal’ contribution.
And so, if at a point a woman wants to be mom, what’s wrong? How can we look down upon something like that? that’s like going anti-family, anti-men and making another set of rules for women – where she doesn’t even have the right to make her own personal choices! That’s the problem of our society… we judge the woman. Always! No matter what she does.
Some times when we move on in life, our dreams change. Yes, it’s difficult sometimes to accept that what you wanted yesterday… you don’t want today… even after chasing it with all your might! It’s coming of age that’s important and so it can be hard sometimes to accept the truth. For me, Aarfa is wise enough to know.Ranbir-Kapoor-in-Yeh-Jawaani-Hai-Deewani-480x640
When Ranbir’s character in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani decides to give up his dream job to be with the girl he loves, we applaud his journey. But when a woman decides to step down to be a mother, we write her off as “weak” or “dominated” or “Stereotypes”. How unfair we are!
I won’t say Sultan is a brilliant film and I won’t say I endorse Salman’s idiocy. But, I won’t take away from the film what it has right.
I love how Anushka isn’t a broken person, I love how the intent of the film is to show the transformation of the protagonist’s heart, I love how they fight the battle “within”, I love how she says:
“We are sportsperson. We don’t give up.” I love how both of them come back to action after their journey as individuals.
For me Sultan is a feel good film, an Aarfa is certainly beautiful!

Anushka does 100% justice to character. (And she’s just as old as me :/ Damn 😀 🙂 ) Rooting for her, watch it for her!aarfa

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