The winner of the third annual Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival has been announced as Alankrita Shrivastava's Lipstick Under My Burkha. Shrivastava was presented with the award by Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant at the Glasgow Film Theatre before the festival's Closing Gala, the World Premiere of Mad To Be Normal.
Shrivastava and the film gained international attention this week following the decision by India’s Censor Board of Film Certifcation (CBFC) to deny its theatrical release, citing the ‘lady-orientated' subject matter and 'sexual scenes and abusive words’.
Lipstick Under My Burkha tells the stories of four Indian women seeking more from life than docile domesticity. Young mother Shirin feels she must hide her professional success from her husband. Ambitious beautician Leela takes the lead with her Muslim boyfriend even as her family arranges her marriage to a nice Hindi boy. College girl Rehana is the Cinderella figure of the quartet whilst the older, irrepressible Auntie Usha sets her sights on a hunky swimming instructor. All of them are freedom fighters against a deeply patriarchal society in this colourful and wildly engaging production.
Now in its third year, the prestigious award - sponsored by ScotRail - is the only award presented at Glasgow Film Festival and is chosen by the most important people at the festival, the audiences. The award recognises emerging filmmakers at the start of their careers, with the ten strong shortlist comprising films from five female and five male directors from countries including Switzerland, India, Israel, Canada, China, USA and the UK. Previous winners of the audience award include Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Oscar-nominated Mustang and Tom Browne’s Radiator.
The 13th annual Glasgow Film Festival hosted over 310 events and screenings across twelve days at venues across the city, including red carpet premieres, and special event screenings at venues including M&D’s Theme Park (The Lost Boys) and Snow Factor (The Thing). It was announced at tonight’s Closing Gala that the next edition of the festival will run 21st February – 4th March 2018.
The fact that the people of Glasgow have loved the film is an affirmation of the relevance of the film across cultures and nations. It is an affirmation of the fact that women’s stories need to be told, through the female point of view. This award gives me hope. It gives me courage. It makes me believe that as women, we must continue to tell our stories, undeterred by those who want to silence us.”