Lipstick Under My Burkha dropped from Prince of Wales Museum exhibition due to 'explicit sexual content'

The museum's director Sabyasachi Mukherjee, though, said the chief reason behind its exclusion was its 'Adult' certification.

FP Staff January 15, 2018 20:36:24 IST
Lipstick Under My Burkha dropped from Prince of Wales Museum exhibition due to 'explicit sexual content'

Alankrita Shrivastava's debut feature film Lipstick Under My Burkha was caught in a tussle last year with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which had deemed it too lady-oriented to see the light of the day. But thankfully, when the makers approached the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), they got a green signal. Within four days of its release, it recovered its production costs and received mostly positive critical reception.

Now, HuffPost reports that Mumbai's own Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (formerly the Prince of Wales Museum) had dropped the film from its exhibition, 'India and the World: In 9 Stories' as it felt 'uncomfortable' with the film's 'sexually explicit scenes.'

Lipstick Under My Burkha dropped from Prince of Wales Museum exhibition due to explicit sexual content

A still from Lipstick under my Burkha. Prakash Jha Productions

In October last year, screenwriter Anuraadha Tewari was asked to curate seven relevant films for the three-day film festival but a few weeks prior to the festival, she was informed by the team in charge, including festival consultant Pallavi Sharma, that Lipstick Under My Burkha would not be screened.

The museum's director Sabyasachi Mukherjee, though, said the chief reason behind its exclusion was its 'Adult' certification. "What if children entered the screening room? After all, ours is an open venue. There was an anxiety from the education department of the museum about the film and hence we made a request to get it removed," he said.

A source also told HuffPost that the museum were afraid of any backlash from right-wing organisations.

Yet, despite being dropped, the film was mentioned in the lineup in the press release. Tewari, expectedly, was furious with the muesum's decision, saying, "To force me to delete a film from my list as a curator after having invited the makers and gotten permission, with lame excuses, and to then mess it up with the wrong listing and not even apologizing, is shameful, discourteous and a demeanor completely unsuitable to a curator of the arts. I am saddened, appalled and cannot fathom this lack of decency. Not to mention an imposition of personal choice despite being a curator of the arts.".

Shrivastava had battled hard on social media for the film's release last year after CBFC refused to certify it, calling the film “lady oriented”. She then appealed the decision with the film certification tribunal, which said the film could be released with an adult certification and after minor cuts.

Relating the story of four women who want to realise their dreams, Lipstick Under My Burkha sparked a debate in India over what is permissible in movies and how women are actually portrayed. The film — which profiles women who break free from tradition — stars Ratna Pathak, Plabita Borthakur, Konkona Sen Sharma and Aahana Kumra.

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