The makers of Lipstick Under My Burkha had to approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) once again after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) was dragging its heels to grant a certificate to the film. Now the censor body has been directed to certify the movie within a week.
The FCAT issued an order in this regard on Friday, read a statement issued on behalf of the film's makers.
Producer Prakash Jha said in a statement: "Since the CBFC was not issuing the certificate, we had to approach the FCAT again. I'm glad the FCAT has directed the CBFC to issue the certification to the film within the week. We will be announcing the release date soon."
Earlier, the FCAT had directed the CBFC to issue an 'A' certificate to the film via an order dated April 18, 2017. The order was sent out later that week, but the CBFC has still not issued the certificate.
On May 1, Jha submitted the film for viewing to the CBFC, in order to get the certification. But the CBFC has been delaying the process on one pretext or the other, read a statement.
When the FCAT was informed of the delay by the producer, they summoned the CBFC to explain the situation. But no one showed up for the hearing, resulting in the latest order.
It may be recalled that "Lipstick Under My Burkha" was first denied certification by the CBFC in January and then again by the Revising Committee in February as its narrative was considered to be too laced with sexual scenes and abusive language. The producers had then filed an appeal with the FCAT for a reversal of the CBFC decision.
Director Alankrita Shrivastava said: "These are pressure tactics by the CBFC. They are once again trying to do their best to stifle the voices of women. Because the FCAT has pointed out that the CBFC cannot deny certification to a film because it is 'lady-oriented', the CBFC is just delaying the process.
"It has been weeks. And we have been waiting to get the certification in hand so we can announce a release date. We first applied for the censor certificate at the end of December. It is now almost June. Who is going to pay for the delay of five months?"
Meanwhile, "Lipstick Under My Burkha" has already won multiple awards at film festivals abroad, including the Grand Jury Prize at Films de Femmes Creteil, France and the inaugural Oxfam Award for the Best Film on Gender Equality. It has been officially screened at over 25 international film festivals across the world.
The film features actors like Konkona Sensharma and Ratna Pathak Shah, and tells the story of four small town women in search of a little freedom.
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