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Film: Lipstick Under My Burkha

  • The British Museum Great Russell Street London, England, WC1B United Kingdom (map)

Tradition and sexuality collide in this hilarious and touching film about four women facing the challenges of being female in modern India.

A burkha-clad college girl struggles with her cultural identity and parental pressure while dreaming of becoming a pop singer. A young beautician is forced to choose between arranged marriage and a passionate affair. A Muslim housewife and mother of three defies her husband by pursuing a career as an enterprising saleswoman. A middle-aged widow rediscovers her sexuality through a telephone romance.

The film was barred from certification in India on the grounds of being “lady-oriented”, with “contagious sex scenes”, “abusive words, audio pornography, and a bit [sic] sensitive touch about one particular section of society”. After five months of appeals, the decision was overturned and the film was released, going on to reach “super-hit” status at the Indian box office. It has been shown at over 65 festivals around the world, and won 18 international awards.

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