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Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016)

2:15 | Trailer
In order to be independent and break free from the conservative society, four women sets on a journey to discover freedom and happiness.


Gazal Dhaliwal (dialogue), Suhani Kanwar (additional screenplay) | 2 more credits »
9 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

'Lipstick Under My Burkha' Cast Shares Favorite Movies

Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, and director Alankrita Shrivastava reveal their list of must-see movies and classic picks in this episode of "The Insider's Watchlist" by IMDb.



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Credited cast:
Aahana Kumra ... Leela
Ratna Pathak Shah ... Usha (as Ratna Pathak)
Konkona Sen Sharma ... Shirin
Plabita Borthakur ... Rehana
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mukesh Aditya Mukesh Aditya ... BMC Official 1
Disha Arora ... Fatima (as Rahim's mistress)
Shashank Arora ... Dhruv
Savita Bhargav Savita Bhargav ... Mrs. Navjot Kaur
Akaber Bukhari Akaber Bukhari ... Sales Executive
Sawstika Chokraberty Sawstika Chokraberty ... Manoj's Mother
Sudhir Choubey Sudhir Choubey ... Honeymoon Travel Agent
Deepak Deepak ... Mall Security Guard
Pankaj Divedi Pankaj Divedi ... Swimsuit Shop Salesman
Aseem Dubey Aseem Dubey ... BMC Official 2
Namita Dubey Namita Dubey ... Namrata


Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town India, Lipstick Under My Burkha chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

8 September 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lipstick Waale Sapne See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Prakash Jha Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016) was the Opening Film at following Festivals: 1) New York Premiere - New York Indian Film Festival

2) Washington Premiere - Washington International Film Festival

3) Minnesota Premiere - St. Paul's international Film Festival, Minneapolis

4) Austin Premiere - IndiMeme Film Festival. See more »


Rehana: There's no end to rules in a girls life. Don't sing, don't dance, you'll shame us. Don't walk like that, people will stare. Keep your eyes down, what will people say? Don't breathe, your heaving chest will attract attention! Don't wear lipstick, you'll have an affair! Don't wear jeans, you'll create a scandal! I want to ask the authorities, what exactly will happen? Why does our freedom scare you so?
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Performed by Neeti Mohan
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User Reviews

Point Taken - Girls and Women have sexual desires
28 October 2017 | by rajdoctorSee all my reviews

The movie is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava who was assistant director to Indian Hindi movies Director Prakash Jha's two films Apaharan and Rajneeti - who has supported her to produced this film.

The story is of four women - Usha (Ratna Pathak) Leela (Aahana Kumra), Shirin (Konkona Sen Sharma) and Rehana (Plabita Borthakur) - all staying in the same chawl - a mix of religious identities and age groups

The story is narrated on a parallel track of a novel that Usha's voice-over reads parts of a Hindi porno novel "Lipstick wale Sapne"

Usha is in mid fifties who loves to read porno novels,

Leela is a sex-hungry girl in love with a photography and aspiring to be a celebrity, but is engaged with another guy - yet continues to have sex and love her lover

Shirin is a housewife who secretly does a job of sales women to support her family when her unemployed husband is out having an extra- marital affair and whenever he comes home, is obsessed with treating his wife Shirin as sex object.

And Rehana is a college going girl who wants to break free from her religious conservative Muslim family. She goes out from her house wearing a Burkha but craves for all western things - music, dresses, dance, life-style etc., is a shop-lifter at shops in malls of expensive things she likes.

For sure all the four characters would exist in real life - and a story on them would be interesting. But the living context does not make it practically plausible, but this are some filmy liberties that are permitted when the director's aim is to put a specific point across.

The basic idea of the director is to give audience a SHOCK TREATMENT by showing a lot of sex scenes from the view point of being a women.

Except a few well written and directed scenes, the film falls down to being a B-C grade cinema.

Girls and women exists who also crave for sex as men is well presented. They want to break free of all the norms society lays on them. What the movie ends up in is a lop - sided portrayal of women and girls. But the point is strongly delivered.

Many people think engaging in sex, protests, anger, doing something different that no one approves is breaking Free and being LIBERAL. which is such a poor view of liberalism.

Among the four actress - Ratna Pathak and Konkona Sen excel in their portrayals, especially their culmination scenes where

Ratna is reminded of her old age and her looks and her desires and LOVE, but termed as "shameful" by throwing her on the streets. That scene broke my heart into pieces

And the culmination scene of Konkona being brutally raped by her husband and asked to stop working is another scene that brought tears to my eyes..

It is a bit difficult to sit thought the entire duration of the film without getting bored - but I sat through curiously to see - what the Director had in mind to conclude with.

Direction is below average, some scenes are so stupid, some sub-plots and characters hard to believe or digest.

The depiction of these four women too is shallow and it is only for the credit of Konkona and Ratna Pathak's maturity that - there is some depth in their characters because of their portrayals - the other two ladies are okay - nothing to write about.

There are so many (may be more than 100) scenes where the director has not taken care of continuity while shooting or editing. The placement of extras keep on changing places, and so do the make up of artists.

Overall - I think the purpose was to make a feminist point about putting across women's sexual desire issues strongly - right ON THE FACE as a slap to society in general. The film on a large part succeeds in that. But there is no subtlety in anything.

The same points could had been made with more force without using so many sexual scenes and dialogues.

If this is what they call women liberalization movement, we have to still go a long way back and start all over again...

I give this movie 5.25 rating out of 10.

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