The Indian movie, Lipstick Waale Sapne (Lipstick Under My Burka) by Alankrita Shrivastava will have its world premiere at the upcoming Tokyo International Film Festival. In Hindi and with an impressive star cast of Konkana Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah, Aahana Kumra, Plabita Borthakur and Sushant Singh Rajput, the movie traces the lives of four women, each with her own secret dream.
And what are these secrets? A burkha-clad college girl fantasises of becoming a pop singer; a young, two-timing beautician seeks to escape from her small town, a mother of three has another life as a saleswoman, and a 55-year-old widow rediscovers her sexual desire through a phone romance.
Shrivastava’s Lipstick Waale Sapne is her second feature after Turning 30 (2011), and both underline women’s struggle for freedom from male dominance.
Turning 30’s Naina (essayed by Gul Panag) grappled with an unfulfilled romance and a crisis in her advertising career as she completes three decades of her life. Set in the urban jungle of Mumbai where existence can be harsh and cruel, Turning 30 was scripted, though, with a dash of laughter.
Shrivastava and members the movie’s cast will be in Tokyo. So too, probably, the cast of Irudhi Suttru, whose Tamil edition will have a Japanese premiere at Tokyo. The film stars Madhavan as a disillusioned boxing coach who comes across a young fiery fisherwoman (Ritika Singh). Sudha Kongara’s work tells us how he trains and disciplines her to become a champion of the ring.
Last year, at Tokyo, there were three Indian entries: Mani Ratnam’s gripping O Kadhal Kanmani, Ishaan Nair’s (Mira Nair’s nephew) Kaash (produced by Irrfan Khan and starring Kalki Koechlin) and Umesh Aggarwal’s biopic, Jai Ho, on the Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman.
Apart from Lipstick Waale Sapne, there will be six world premieres at Tokyo -- movies from different parts of the world.
These six will be part of the main Competition: Chris Kraus’ Holocaust drama, The Bloom of Yesterday (from Germany/Austria), Jun Robles Lan’s transgender tale, Die Beautiful (The Philippines), Mel Feng’s wartime adventure, Mr No Problem (China), Roy Szeto’s comedy Shed Skin Papa (Hong Kong/China), Daigo Matsui’s Japanese Girls Never Die (Japan) and Kiki Sugino’s Snow Woman (Japan).
Other highlights of the Competition -- films that will either be Asian Premieres or Japanese Premieres -- are Croatian helmer Hana Jusic’s debut work (which examines the mind of an introverted girl), Turkish auteur Reha Erdem’s Big Big World (about a brother’s struggle to meet his sister, given away in adoption), Romanian director Adrian Sitaru’s The Fixer (a news reporter’s dilemma when he finds out about a prostitution racket), Frenchman Hame Ekoue’s Paris Prestige (on the travails of a man on parole) and Brazilian hopeful Marco Dutra’s The Silence of the Sky (a man’s guilt after his wife is assaulted).
The jury will be headed by French auteur Jean-Jacques Beineix, and he will be assisted by Hong Kong director Mabel Cheung, US producer Nicole Rocklin, Italian actor Valerio Mastandrea and Japanese director Hideyuki Hirayama.
The festival runs from October 25 to November 3.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran will be covering the Tokyo International Film Festival.)