The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has directed the Central Board Film Certification (CBFC) to grant an ‘A’ certificate to the Hindi film ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ with voluntary cuts and certain modifications.
Disposing off an appeal filed by the film’s director Alankrita Srivastava and producer Prakash Jha, the Tribunal noted that there was “no violation” of guideline. Neither the visuals nor the dialogues in the film were “contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups.”
“There was no targeting of women of certain community or religion,” it added.
The Tribunal noted that the examining committee and revising committee of the CBFC "misdirected themselves” in denying certification on the ground that the story of the film was women oriented.
“There cannot be any embargo on a film being women oriented or containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women," Tribunal headed by Justice Manmohan Sarin said in its order, finding “merit in the submissions” made by the appellant against the CBFC's examining and review committees’ orders.
The film, starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, chronicles the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for freedom “for their desires, dreams and aspirations, through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion against the male dominated patriarchy.”
“The entire matter has to be considered in the perspective of the theme of the film, the story, the characters and the overall impact of the film. As a matter of general approach if the aspect of sexual desires and their expression is sensitively handled without bringing coarseness, vulgarity or obscenity, pandering prurient tendencies, then it is not to be disallowed,” the Tribunal noted.
During hearing of the matter, the appellant offered “voluntary” cuts or reduction in the length of the sex scenes or others which may have been considered unduly long or unnecessary.
“It is undoubtedly true that in this film, the script contains certain abusive and cuss words. It also has depiction of sexual acts. However, the same are integral and germane to the characters and the story,” the FCAT noted.
It, however, suggested for reducing the sex scenes “without affecting in any manner the projection and substance of the scene or the basic film.”
“It essentially would mean not showing a prolonged sex act which is even otherwise not in conformity with the guidelines requiring such scenes to be kept the minimum,” it said.
Tribunal asked the appellant for muting a word used at one place in the film as it felt that the use of the said word was “inappropriate in the situation.”