Director Alankrita Shrivastava is having the last laugh.
Her film, Lipstick Under My Burkha, denied certification by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the grounds that the film was `lady oriented’, has been cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) with an ` A ‘ certificate, besides `some voluntary and some additional cuts and deletions’. While the Censor Board had reservations about the film, owing to its sexual scenes and abusive language, the Tribunal added that the former misdirected themselves in denying certification on the ground that the story of the film is womenoriented. It further noted that there cannot be any embargo on a film being women-centric or containing sexual fantasies and expression of the inner desires of women.Shrivastava, upbeat about this development, says, “It is a vindication and I feel it’s not just a victory for me but a victory for women’s voices across the country . I feel everyone was battling alongside me. It’s a clear statement that no patriarchal body can pull us down and no one can silence us. We should continue to tell our stories. No matter how hard it is, if we don’t claim our freedom then nobody else can do it for us.“

The director, who has been running from pillar to post for the past four months for the film’s certification, draws attention to the financial strain a producer faces during such situations and doesn’t shy away from terming the CBFC a regressive body .She says, “I was shocked and found the denial of certification ridiculous.It became clear to me that the CBFC is a regressive, illogical and patriarchal organisation. I felt that they were working in a manner which would systematically perpetuate patriarchy .I also felt that they had an agenda in silencing women’s voices. If we say that it’s a free and democratic country and that we have gender equality , then we really need to claim our freedom.Censorship doesn’t have a place in our democratic society .“

Shrivastava, however, feels that the FCAT’s decision is fair and says, “They haven’t asked us to cut anything that affects the story nor have they asked us to remove any scenes. They have asked us to reduce a few seconds of some intimate scenes.If I had felt that the cuts would dilute the story or interfere with the essence or pulse of the film, I wouldn’t have accepted them. They have been respectful of my intentions as a filmmaker.“