Producer Ekta Kapoor, the presenter of Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, is going all out to promote the film. She says that Lipstick... is the first film which she is promoting so aggressively because she has great faith in it. The film has been in the news because of its battle with the Censor Board. But the makers are making sure that it reaches to a large audience when it releases this Friday, July 21.
Ekta, along with actresses Aahana Kumra and Plabita Borthakur, was in the city on Monday for the promotion of the film. We caught up with Ekta, who looked ravishing in an off-shoulder dress and flashed a brilliant smile, to know more about the film and why she decided to get on board.
What made you present the film?
I watched the film and thought that this is the movie India needs to watch. Imagine it’s got 11 awards internationally and probably will be going for the Golden Globe Awards but we Indians might not watch. It has the perfect presentation and, more than anything, it’s an entertaining film. In the past, we have had so many boy bonding films like Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dil Chahta Hai but not a film about four women and their lives! This one is much more grungier and funnier. I thought it would be an honour to get a chance to present such a film.
The film talks about women’s liberation. What’s your definition of it?
A woman should be anyone she wants to be — liberal, conservative, religious, non-religious, boho, absolutely confined, conformist... It’s her decision because it’s her life. Society, unfortunately, defines the rules of good and bad and they are more stringently applicable to women than men.
Lately, we have seen a host of films on women empowerment or liberation like Queen, Pink and now Lipstick... Do you see any change in the mindset?
Society accepted Pink because it highlighted sexual crime against women. But the moment a woman accepts her own sexuality, the patriarchy stands up and says, ‘Oh, we are okay with protecting women but not this’. The sexual desire of a woman is also her right. We do not consider a woman as a sexual being and that is the root cause of the problem. And when she accepts her sexuality, she is considered indecent and men think that they have the right to pounce on her. Lipstick... which talks about this, is a far more important and radical film than others in that sense.
Lipstick... will reach out to a lot of urban audience, but what about smaller cities and rural areas? How do you plan to reach the audience there?
I have done my bit. I have tried to make the promo exciting, and have done a lot more promotions than the budget of the film but it’s going to be a task to reach the masses. But as they say, society is like a champagne glass, you have to pour from top. When you pour from top, at some point it will reach the second layer, then the third, fourth and after some time, fifth and sixth. We have started pouring from the top, let’s see where it reaches.
What are your expectations from the audience?
It’s a good film and no matter what the collections are, I will be proud of it. It is a subject I felt strongly for. At some point, I felt, ‘aapka sex, sex hai, aur hamara sex reproduction’. There are scenes in the film where you question what’s happening with the women of our society. I want to see how many men and women are going to watch the film. For the first time, I am expecting something from the audience.
This film is very different from the other commercial films you have produced. Did you follow your heart more than your head?
Of course. There’s nothing commercial in this film. There’s no main hero or the typical kind of entertainment that the masses enjoy, there are no elements of a potboiler. But it’s a fun film and the youth of India will love it. If I think commercially, I shouldn’t have presented the film but if I go by instincts, which has kept me in good state till today, I think it will work. It’s time we did things which we believe in.
How do you balance between producing outright commercial films and presenting a film like this?
I don’t believe in putting myself in a box. I am as comfortable going to a religious place as attending a house party. I don’t mind going to a rock concert (even though I don’t enjoy it and would prefer going to Coke Studio concert instead). I think we should stop putting people in boxes. I heard a beautiful line the other day, ‘Modesty empowers some women, nudity empowers some and it’s nobody’s business to decide what works for whom.’ So I will do commercial films, potboilers and anything that I believe in. The big daddies of commercial cinema shouldn’t think that I will never make a film I believe in and the ones who think that I am only going to make films I believe in should know that I am in the business and very happy about making money.
Supporting a film like this is good, but the kind of content that your TV shows have is totally different. Is it a constant battle with yourself to create such content?
I believe in the women on television. Just because they are clad in a saree doesn’t make them weak. I may be comfortable in a saree and wear one, and if I am comfortable in a bikini, I will wear one. I believe Tulsi is a strong woman and she shot her son who molested his wife. There maybe a little lack of relatability but they are strong women and our TV shows have dealt with some serious issues. People ask me why have vamps and good and bad characters in your show? But don’t we have heroes and villains in films and usually, women are there for song and dance. On TV, the women are heroes and villains, and men are just eye candy.