Ratna Pathak Shah in a scene from 'Lipstick Under My Burkha'
Inarguably, one of India's finest actors, 59-year-old Ratna Pathak Shah does all it takes to get into the skin of a character.
In her upcoming release, 'Lipstick Under My Burkha', which until recently was refused a censor certificate for its bold portrayal of women embracing their sexuality, Shah slips into a swimsuit while playing an endearing elderly woman everyone fondly calls Buaji.
Like you see in much of small town India, Buaji picks swimwear with colour, frills and sleeves.
Director Alankrita Shrivastava says the scene in which Shah swims sans inhibition is her favourite. "What makes the scene special is Ratna's portrayal of a woman's struggle to shed her inhibitions as she enters the pool."
Careful thought was put into designing the swimming costume for Shah. "Several Indian women refrain from getting into a swimming pool because they are uncomfortable in a swimsuit. We ensured that the costume Ratna wore was well researched, and had the necessary shorts, sleeves, frills and bright colours that older Indian women are often spotted in. Our costume designer did a fabulous job of creating the perfect swimsuit," she says.
In January, the Central Board of Film Certification refused to certify the film, stating, "The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society."
The makers took the movie to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which overruled the Censor Board’s ruling, granting the film theatrical release rights.
The Prakash Jha production that will now hit screens on July 21 chronicles the secret lives of four women of varied ages, as they search for their idea of freedom.