Amazon India acquires Lipstick Under My Burkha

Amazon Prime Video India has acquired exclusive rights to Alankrita Shrivastava’s award-winning drama Lipstick Under My Burkha, which will not be broadcast on TV/satellite in India.

The award-winning film is already streaming, just a few weeks after it opened in Indian theatres on July 21. Amazon acquired streaming rights for India and all SAARC territories.

Produced by Prakash Jha Productions, the film explores the sexuality of four Indian women, along with their journey towards emotional freedom and self-expression. It premiered at Mumbai Film Festival last year and has won awards at Tokyo International Film Festival, London Asia Film Festival and Glasgow Film Festival.

The film was initially banned by India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for being “too lady-oriented” and featuring abusive words and audio pornography. However, the filmmakers appealed to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which overturned the ruling and said the film could be released with some voluntary cuts.

The initial banning of the film was one of a string of controversial decisions made by CBFC head, Pahlaj Nihalani, who was replaced last week before the end of his three-year term by writer and advertising executive Prasoon Joshi.

Lipstick Under My Burkha was finally released on 400 screens and has taken $2.5m after tax in three weeks. It was produced for a budget of just under $1m.

Shrivastava said: “It is wonderful that Lipstick Under My Burkha will be playing on Amazon Prime Video. For people who have never seen it, and people who want to see it again, people who wrote in saying there were no theatres in their town playing the film, people from neighbouring countries…the film will just be a click away.”

“Films like Lipstick Under My Burkha with powerful messages, delivers on our promise to bring the best and exclusive Indian and global content, including those remarkable feature movies that have won numerous accolades across the globe and are must-watch stories,” said Amazon Prime Video India head of content Vijay Subramaniam.

Subramaniam is currently standing in for former Amazon Prime Video India country head Nitesh Kripalani, who quit the company last week.