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Hullabaloo over Lipstick Under My Burkha: Why Muslims are calling for boycott, legal action

A Bollywood film of Prakash Jha’s production Lipstick Under My Burkha is at centre of controversy with Muslim groups are expressing their dismay over the movie storyline that explores the sexual escapades of four women in a small town.

Though the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has banned the movie, filmmakers Shyam Benegal, Sudhir Mishra, Neeraj Ghaywan among others have criticised the censor board’s decision. “The censor board should certify the film not censor it. I’m against censorship of movies, to stop any film from being released is not justifiable,” Benegal said.

All told, the move has been welcomed by a Madhya Pradesh-based Muslim outfit that now has passed a resolution to boycott the movie. Also, the little-known All India Muslim Tehwar Committee (AIMTC) has asked the community, especially women to take legal action against it.

“We are happy that censor board has refused to give the certificate to movie. But if the certification is given by any chance we will also move towards legal action against the movie. Today they are making fun of women from a certain community, if not stopped they might target women in other community too,” said AIMTC chairman Ausaf Shahmeeri Khurram.

The outfit has claimed that the film has hurt Muslim’s sentiment.

Shot in Bhopal, the controversial movie has scooped several awards, including the Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Oxfam Award for Best Film on Gender Equality at the Mumbai Film Festival and stars Konkona Sensharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey and Shashank Arora.

However, Urdu poet Manzar Bhopali disagrees with the ban. “I don’t know the exact reasons for the ban imposed by the censor board over the film but I do not see any reason especially pertaining to linking of burqa and lipstick. Islam asks women to remain in hijab but never stops them from doing makeup. Women are free to do makeup of their choice while abiding to hijab. Muslim women world over do makeup and wears burkha too, there is nothing wrong in it and I am sure that the religious leaders and clerics would also endorse my opinion,” he told a daily.

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