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India has to make room for ‘lady oriented’ works: ‘Lipstick…’ director

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

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lady oriented works

Mumbai, March 8 : Theres rallying for womens empowerment on the one hand — and a curb on freedom of expression on the other. The paradox is perplexing to writer-filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava, whose “honest” telling of a story of womens secret desires and hidden fantasies has been deemed too “lady oriented” and unfit for release by Indias censor board.

“It is quite a paradox. Considering the situation of women in India, with dowry, violence against women, female foeticide, sexual harassment on the streets, it is crucial for women’s voices and stories, their experiences and perspectives to be given space in popular culture,” said the maker of “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, the film that invited the censor board’s ire.

“A situation where the female point of view is throttled really means that we are saying it is best if women shut up. Women cannot forever be represented through prisms created by the dominant narrative of the male gaze,” Shrivastava told IANS in an email interview.

She questioned how long women would just be “vamps, goddesses and item-girls”.

“Why can’t there be space for all kinds of representations of women in popular culture? We have a right to create and engage with stories told from the alternative, female point of view. We have a right to represent ourselves through all forms of culture. No democracy that promises equal rights to men and women can throttle that right.

“And maybe the time has come for us to make our equal freedom real. The cultural space in India has to make room for lady-oriented works — be it films, paintings, books, songs. No one has the power to legitimately silence half the population of the country because our stories make a few people uncomfortable,” said the filmmaker, who has just won an Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017 for her movie.

“Lipstick Under My Burkha” — as the title suggests — is about the veil under which women constantly live. Its narrative delves into the lives of four women, aged between 18 and 55, who assert their personal and sexual rights.

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

An angry Shrivastava said: “If women having agency over their own bodies and desires and (their) dreams make people uncomfortable, too bad! We are living, breathing, real people… Not just created to fit into the stereotypes created by the male-dominant paradigm of popular culture.”

The film’s trailer may look a tad risque to an audience not used to cinema that tells things as they are.

The Central Board of Film Certification refused a certificate to the movie, saying that it explores women’s “fantasy about life” and that “there are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society”.

Shrivastava finds censorship stifling.

“In cinema and on television, we continue to self-censor, even before the film actually goes up for certification. If you have sat around writers and directors, you will know that common refrain, ‘Arre, the censors won’t pass it. Forget about that idea. This is India’.”

“So often, even before we can think of a story, we kill it.”

She finds it scary that censorship works to create a culture that keeps pushing the dominant male-gaze popular culture narrative.

“Because that means there is a systematic perpetuation of patriarchy through culture and a simultaneous systematic silencing of alternative voices. So an entire society is being forced to engage with only one kind of narrative. That is a serious assault on women’s right to express themselves. It is like saying we don’t have a right to tell our stories.”

And this, particularly for stories told from a female perspective.

“Those (stories) that involve women striving for agency over their own desires, bodies, dreams are then seen as not important… But I think it is this pulse — of women having agency over their lives, women owning their bodies for themselves — that the ‘moral guardians’ find problematic.

“Because the woman is seeking empowerment from the very core of her life. And that threatens the status quo of patriarchy. We need an end to censorship in cinema. This is 2017.”

Fashion

Make your eyes standout this festive season

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Eye Makeup

New Delhi, Dec 13: Work around your eyes to make a style statement in the festive season. Opt for bright coloured kohl pencils for the day time and invest in good eyelash extensions as they instantly brighten and define eyes, making the face appear younger, suggest experts.

Elton Fernandez, make-up artist at Maybelline New York and Sapna Bedi-Khaitan, owner at Novalash India, have listed some ideas:

* A liner in black is great for the eyelid, while a gel pencil in sapphire shade adds a vibrant electric touch as you apply some kajal on the lower waterline. The black liner could also be added towards the outer corners of the eye for more definition. Add drama to your lashes with a hyper curl mascara.

* Blend concealer with fingers onto the under eyes and inner corners of your eyes. Use bright coloured kohl pencils in shades like turquoise, emerald or sapphire instead of typical black kajal for the day.

At night, go in for deeper colours that will make your eyes stand out. Glitter eyes is also a trend to watch out for in the coming year.

* For the eyeshadow, lightly dust the deep pink shadow all over the eyelid. Use the lighter frosty beige as a highlighter on the brow bone.

* Fill in the brows. Run any brown mascara gently through the brows. This not only fills gaps in hair growth, but also keeps hair upwards and in place. No eye look is complete with ungroomed brows. The trick is to close sparse gaps while keeping brow hair in place. End your look with a contouring stick that will provide a highlighted look on the cheekbones to accentuate and dramatize the bone structure.

* Invest in good eyelash extensions as they instantly brighten and define eyes, making the face appear younger, more alert and refreshed all day.

You will not need to apply mascara with lash extensions. These create a thick, dark lash line. Many women skip applying eye make-up altogether, saving valuable time in the mornings. Not only do the eyelash extensions come in different lengths and curvatures, they also come in different colours.

* If you want to make your eyes look bigger, use an off-white or cream coloured kohl inside the eyes’ waterline, coat lower lashes with a mascara. Shade the undereye part with a soft brown eyeshadow and apply a nice defined eyeliner on the eyelid. Curling lashes is crucial to make eyes look awake and engaging.

IANS

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Lifestyle

4 expert tips to maintain your skin during winter

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New Delhi, Dec 12: Ready with your new winter look but not ready to deal with the harsh winter weather?

While winter is all about snuggling into cozy quilts, sitting by the heater and sipping hot drinks, it is also about dealing with dry skin, chapped lips, and cracked heels. Dr. Chandrika Mahendra, Principal Scientist, Personal Care, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares her expertise on keeping your skin healthy during winter.

*Nourish the skin from within

Moisturising your dry skin every now and then during winter can be a little annoying. All you need to keep your skin soft and supple is an intensive skin care product that is enriched with the goodness of cocoa butter. Cocoa contains antioxidants that help repair skin cells.

* Keep yourself hydrated

While your skin needs essential minerals and vitamins, drinking water is a must to keep your body adequately hydrated. We are less likely to feel thirsty during winter. However, consuming warm water will help in flushing out toxins and enhancing blood circulation. So, ensure you drink two to three liters of water a day.

* Say goodbye to chapped lips

Dry weather and chapped lips go together. Therefore, it is important to keep your lips moisturized and healthy during the winter months. For soft and smooth lips, look for herbal products with 100 per cent natural color, antioxidants, and Vitamin E.

* Follow your workout routine

Winter can often make you lazy and drowsy. It is crucial to stay active and fit to speed up your metabolism for a healthy body and skin. Regular workouts increase your body’s strength, boost your energy levels, and improve skin health. So, make time for a quick run, join a gym, or take a stroll in the garden, but don’t let winter hinder your schedule.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Exfoliate, apply sunscreen to get rid of dry skin

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sunscreen Skin care

New Delhi, Dec 10: Most people associate winter with dry skin. To counter the flaking skin, exfoliate your lips, face and body once a week, and don’t forget your sunscreen, suggest experts.

Pallavi Mehra, Marketing Manager at VanityCask, and Arzoo Shah, make-up artist at MyGlamm, have shared how:

* Exfoliate lips: Treat your uneven dry and chapped lips with luxurious lip scrub pertaining feed for one’s lips with essential plant extracts. Fuse ground coffee with brown sugar and macadamia oil to get a pout as soft as velvet.

* Choose a radiant base: To get that perfect sheen, opt for a radiant and dewy finish foundation. A peach and pumpkin palette is the perfect substitute to bronzer during winter season to achieve a natural look.

* Cream-based blushes: To bring back that healthy flush and imperceptible glow this winter, cream blush is the need of the hour. A hint of both colour and moisture formula giving cheeks a three dimensional look bring the contours of the cheeks forward.

* Hydrating primer: A lightweight, serum-like textured primer provides a great canvas for make-up. An illuminating primer mattifies skin for that extra dose of radiance.

* SPF: Applying sunscreen to your face and hands every morning is essential. If you are anxious about the chemicals in sunscreens with high SPF, you can opt for children’s sunscreen as it’s just as effective and extra gentle on your skin.

* Don’t shy away from supplements: Take supplements to give your skin some additional lift, particularly during the winter months. For winter, pay special attention to vitamins E, C and B2, which will support the creation of skin cells.

* Exfoliate: Between the cold, damp air outside and the dry indoor heating, your skin cells are majorly dehydrated, which can lead to a build-up of dead skin that can eventually clog your pores. Exfoliate your body once a week and your face once or twice a week, but make sure you don’t over exfoliate.

* Use lip balm: There’s nothing more irritating than cracked dry lips. A good lip balm is the key to getting soft lips.

You don’t need to limit your Vaseline or lip balm to your lips. You can apply it under the eyes at night to keep away crow’s feet, and also use it to tackle dry skin on your face. You can even use your lip balm on the ends of your hair or to tame fly always if you need a little extra moisture.

IANS

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