MUMBAI, July 18, (Agencies): The release of a Hindi movie exploring female sexuality in India this week after a battle with the country’s film censors is a victory for women’s rights, its director said.
“Lipstick Under My Burkha” will hit screens on Friday, five months after the country’s notoriously prudish and much-maligned censor board refused to certify it for being “lady oriented”.
The movie tells the story of the secret lives and desires of four women — including a college student who wears a burkha, and a 55-year-old who rediscovers a sex life after the death of her husband.
“I feel that the release is not just about ‘Lipstick’ but is also a victory and celebration that women can tell their stories,” director Alankrita Shrivastava told AFP on Monday.
“It’s not just about my film and our cast and crew. If it had not released (then) that would have set a precedent that it’s okay to gag 50 percent of the population,” she added.
India’s censor board, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), sparked uproar in February when it blocked the movie, saying it was “lady oriented, their fantasy above life”. The ruling was widely mocked on social media.
The board, which has a history of barring movies it deems too racy or at risk of causing religious offence, complained of “sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography (phone sex)”. It also implied the film might offend Muslims.
Critics, however, pointed out the board regularly approves adult comedies containing derogatory jokes about women that are directed by men and target India’s predominantly young, male cinema-going audience.
Shrivastava was outraged at the decision and challenged it at an appeals tribunal, which in April cleared the film for release, albeit with a few cuts, such as reducing the length of some sex scenes.
The Film Certification Appellate Tribunal ruled that “Lipstick Under My Burkha” was suitable for anyone aged 18 or over and should be given an adult rating.
The film has aired at more than 35 film festivals worldwide, including the Tokyo International Film Festival where it won an award last year.
Shrivastava said she was “excited, happy and also a little nervous” about the movie finally showing in cinemas in its home country.
“It always makes you wonder what people are expecting but that’s only until Friday and then it will be clear what the film is and how ridiculous all this drama was,” she said.
BERLIN: Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron said she hoped to even the playing field in the male-dominated spy film genre with her latest role as a deadly agent in action-thriller movie “Atomic Blonde.”
“I saw potential in this character,” Theron, 41, told Reuters at the Berlin premiere of “Atomic Blonde” on Monday.
“I wanted to explore a woman in this world and have her kind of play with the same set of rules that men get to play in,” added the actress, who won an Academy Award for her role as a serial killer in the 2003 film “Monster.”
“Atomic Blonde,” based on Antony Johnston’s graphic novel series “The Coldest City” and out in theaters on July 28, follows MI6’s lethal bisexual assassin Lorraine Broughton (Theron) in Berlin in 1989. Broughton is on a mission to recover a list of double agents, in a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Actress Bryce Dallas Howard says her enthusiasm for New Zealand hasn’t dimmed since she first visited at age 5 and was so stunned by the scenery she felt like she’d arrived on another planet.
Howard this week begins a campaign to promote the South Pacific nation as a tourist destination to Americans and Canadians.
Howard first visited New Zealand when her father Ron Howard was directing the 1988 movie “Willow.” She recalls arriving in Queenstown at night and in the morning looking out large windows to a spectacular vista.
Howard more recently spent a few months in the country while working on the fantasy-adventure “Pete’s Dragon.”
The tourism campaign is funded by the New Zealand government and features Howard in a series of travel videos.