You’ve got to love Pankaj Nihalani, the man who wields power over what I will have with my popcorn, which – if it’s a Bollywood film – is the 209898th version of a romantic love story.
This role obviously puts a huge responsibility on his shoulders as he must censor what he deems inappropriate for audiences because, you know how we can be! We who get easily influenced and will fling our hymen at the next guy who launches into a romantic ballad in the middle of the street. It may be harassment but we women have no qualms, because, movies.
So he was correct to refuse to certify this movie called Lipstick Under My Burkha. We’ve been given the right to vote and lead companies – but asking for a freehand with sexuality? Is bit much. I mean, the righteous man allows this and next you’ll want to choose what you wear and you’d just be messing around then.
I applaud the man for his vision and foresight and his steadfast commitment to preserving the culture of India. Now, Konkana Sen Sharma wants to take this to a tribunal and it seems like an uphill battle, but I have a few pointers for those who want to get their films past the censor board.
1. Women as Set Design
To ensure your movie breezes past the censors, you don’t want women with a voice. Now, don’t misunderstand this to mean that women shouldn’t be in the movie, that would be plain silly. He’s no monster! But you probably want them as a part of the set design. So get the person ordering that table to also arrange for a human in possession of a female anatomy to be placed in the background. If you can also arrange for this woman to be skimpily clad, that’s great. However, you are toeing the line if you offer this person a dialogue or give them a voice. Do you want to get this past the censors or not?
2. Promote Stereotypes so Everyone is Comfortable
One of the other things you want to ensure is that you are passing on the right values – or, as some people like to call them, stereotypes. You want to show men drinking, smoking and teasing women. Women should be shown in the kitchen, cooking, cleaning and in general serving the men. This way, everyone knows what their roles are, in movies and in life and Mr Nihalani doesn’t have to cut out scenes and upset anyone. You’ll only be helping the man do his job better.
3. No Sex, But Sexual Assault is Okay
Catcalling, stalking and making lewd gestures is okay as long as men are doing it because – if you didn’t know – this is how we women get wooed in India. The ladies get confused with gentle, flower-bearing men who believe in consent. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and have sex in the movies. That’s the problem with Lipstick Under My Burkha, the women are having sex. Even talking about it. And not just with one person! Madness.
4. Men Wear Oranges; Women, Sshh
Those scenes where men wear oranges and pretend they’re boobs. Hilarious. Every time. Yes, so funny. Because haha, men are so silly. This is great for providing comic relief.
Now you think oh, if that’s okay, maybe I can show lingerie as well. NO. A woman can be shown wearing lingerie but not buying lingerie which you know is only for titillation and not any other purpose. The last time I watched a man buying underwear, I got so turned on, I had to excuse myself to go to the bathroom. So you know, any sort of images which could throw men off into thinking that females are actually human is completely uncalled for and will be met with censorship.
(Mansi Shah is founder of the blog Damsel in Destress which reviews experiences as varied as spas, books and plays. Mansi is, by her own admission, “clueless” at 30 with an easy penchant for humour.)