A 2016 film that has chalked up a series of awards at film festivals has been banned from theatrical release in India. Variety reports that India’s censors banned the Hindi film “Lipstick Under My Burkha,” about female empowerment.
Directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and produced by Prakash Jha, the movie won the Spirit of Asia award last year at the Tokyo International Film Festival and received the Oxfam award for best film on gender equality at the Mumbai Film Festival, Variety notes.
The Central Board of Film Certification gave its reasons for the ban in a letter to Jha, writing: “The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are [continuous] sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused.”
Variety contacted Shrivastava in Scotland, where the film is scheduled to have its U.K. premiere Friday at the Glasgow Film Festival.
The director told the publication: “This is an attack on women’s right to tell their stories, from a female perspective. It is also a clear attack on the freedom of expression. India is so steeped in its discrimination against women, it becomes evident in such decisions. In a country where there is so much violence against women, and such double standards for women, rather than encourage women’s stories told by women themselves, our stories are stifled.”