‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ now most watched Hindi movie on Amazon Prime
New Delhi: Alankrita Shrivastava’s Lipstick Under My Burkha, a film that explores female sexuality, is the most watched Bollywood title on streaming service Amazon Prime Video since the platform’s India launch in December last year.
The company said close to 40% of its active customers have already watched the film in the last three weeks from 15 August, when the film released on Amazon Prime Video.
These numbers are telling because Amazon Prime Video has a near stranglehold over Bollywood content, and it has been aggressively lapping up mainstream blockbuster titles like Rajinikanth-starrer Kabali, Salman Khan-starrer Sultan, and Ae Dil Hai Mushkil which has actor Ranbir Kapoor in the lead.
“Lipstick Under My Burkha was our best performing Bollywood title for the initial two weeks after it came to the platform and is also the best performing since our launch. The film continues to be in top three titles for Amazon Prime till date,” said a company spokesperson.
“It’s heartening to hear this, it really validates the theory that the new digital audience will watch smart content over mainstream movies,” said Sameer Nair, chief executive at Applause Entertainment, a content production company. “One of the big contributors to this is the newness of the film, it was in the public glare. And that it was released on the digital platform so quickly worked to its advantage,” he added.
Amazon released the title on its platform within less than a month of its theatrical release.
Anirban Das Blah, founder and chief executive of CAA Kwan, which manages Bollywood actors, attributed the film’s popularity to strong adoption of Amazon Prime Video in urban markets. “While they have managed to reach the urban audiences, they still need to crack the heartland,” he added.
According to data by app analytics firm App Annie, Amazon Prime Video has ranked number five in rankings for the last 12 months in terms of monthly active usage.
Female desire, in all its forms, is the fulcrum around which the film’s four stories— of college-goer Rehana (Plabita Borthakur), beautician Leela (Aahana Kumra), sales girl Shireen (Konkona Sensharma) and the unofficial matriarch Usha—revolve. Lipstick Under My Burkha struggled for six months with the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which refused it a certificate for “contagious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society”.
It finally released in theatres on 21 July and garnered a box office total of Rs19.21 crore.
Leading multiplex chain PVR Ltd released the film across 4,857 screens. The film stayed in cinemas for three weeks and generated cumulative footfalls of over 4 lakh. “Typically any adult certificate film lends itself to watching it in privacy because of the bold content. We saw a lot of single tickets being sold for the film,” said Gautam Dutta, chief executive officer, PVR.
The film will release across US on 15 September and is being screened in select cities there. The film earned 11 international film festival awards prior to its official release.
Amazon Prime Video has been lapping up Bollywood content and has tied up rapidly with production houses such as Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, T-Series, Shree Venkatesh Films, Everest Entertainment, V Creations and Dream Warrior Pictures. Most recently, it acquired the digital streaming rights to Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming romantic period drama Padmavati, starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.