#RealGirlReviews: Lipstick Under My Burkha *No Spoilers*

If you know me at all, you’ll know that I was keenly awaiting the arrival of this movie. The vociferous feminist in me couldn’t wait to devour what seemed from the promos like an out and out ode to Indian women and the oft underplayed concept of sexuality. I will go as far as to say that I’m glad Sir Nihalani (a Sindhi I’m not proud of) as usual tried to play dirty with his censor board antics. I think it helped create a buzz and there was an increased excitement amongst people to watch the movie – as an act of rebellion if nothing else. For this, I’m super grateful.

I caught the movie in a theatre last night and here are my unfiltered thoughts:

1. Ratna Pathak Shah is the biggest talent the Film Industry has ever seen. The woman is so convincing in her nuanced role as Buaji that you literally forget it’s a movie character. Funny I should say that since I’m obsessed with her character of Mrs Maya Sarabhai which is such a far cry from the role she essayed here.

2. Am I imagining it or has Konkana been missing for a while? It was such a pleasure to watch her on screen again. She’s the most natural actress around and my heart absolutely went out to her character.

3. The movie does seem disjointed in parts. I don’t claim to be a seasoned cinephile so maybe this was intentional and I didn’t get that, but it’s just my real girl opinion.

4. Aahana Kumra is a treat to watch on screen. I’ve never seen any of her work before and this was a great way to get introduced to the powerhouse of talent that she is.


Image Courtesy: DNA India

5. The backdrop of Bhopal added an interesting edge to the film. It also makes you realise that sitting in a metro and waxing eloquent about feminism is a very easy thing to do. The real struggle is to come from a small town or tier 2 city and actually do something outrageous, you know, “for a girl”.

6. Being a typical Indian cinema goer, I expected more closure at the end of the movie. Found it a little abrupt. Would have liked to see some vendetta and craved an ‘Aha!’ moment at the end.

7. Couldn’t be more excited about the fact that a movie has finally addressed women and their need to have sex. Matlab, go back to your books people. Maslow ne sabh samjhaya hai! SEX = BASIC PHYSIOLOGICAL NEED. Then why the fuck do you act like it’s not a woman’s right to be a sexual being?! My blood boils at the hypocrisy of it all.

8. And just in case you were wondering, age has nothing to do with it. The movie elucidates this beautifully.

9. I found the music in the movie dismal. I know it’s not a song and dance type of movie, but I think a powerful background score or song could have lifted the mood.

10. I particularly enjoyed some of the nuanced comedy. The jokes were not in your face. But then, if that’s more your thing – you’d rather go for Housefull or something.

11. Actress Plabita Borthakur who plays Rehana in the movie has done a super job and her character gave me major Jenny Humphrey vibes (Gossip Girl Reference)


Image Courtesy: KoiMoi

12. The director has done a marvellous job weaving all the stories and making them all interesting at the same time.

13. The casting is brilliant too. Even the cameos played by the male actors.

14. To be totally honest, it felt like you’re watching a play instead of a movie. I meant that in a good way because the performances were above the level we are used to seeing on the big screen. And in general Hindi cinema lacks realism.

15. Some might find it a tad slow paced but now that I’m back home and it’s sinking in, I believe the story needed that.

16. My main takeaway is that this fucking world needs to let girls live in peace. We will *all* relate to being told what to do as girls at some point in our lives. And we’re not having it anymore. SO DONE with being told if we can educate ourselves, work, earn, swim, have sex, get married, get divorced, wear jeans. No one’s fucking asking for permission, world. Get that?  *Reminds self to take deep breaths*


Image Courtesy: DNA India

This is all I’m able to tell you without giving too much away.

I’ll conclude by saying it’s a must watch. You’ll never have seen anything like it. I welcome more cinema like this with open arms and an open wallet. Worth my time and money. 🙂

Kudos to the team behind Lipstick Under My Burkha!



Real Girl


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Hi my loves,

I sincerely apologise for it has been way-too-long since I posted here! Not that I haven’t intended to or haven’t thought about it every single day, but sometimes real life just takes over. Now before I continue with what is already seeming like a self important bout of verbal diarrhoea, let me explain that I fully well know that some of you reading this don’t even know that I’ve been missing from the blog and/or you don’t even really care. To you I say, that’s okay *shrugs*. However, I still feel like my absence deserves an explanation so here we go (bring out the popcorn darling, this could take a while!)

In the beginning of June, the boy and I went to Goa for a few days. It was a much needed break and helped us reconnect with each other and with Momma Nature. It also helped me up my Instagram game because I sure did go crazy clicking! I haven’t done a post on the blog for this Goa trip because it was really short and frankly, it was more lets-just-relax than let’s-go-check-new-places. Still, I’ll include a few pictures in this post for you to get a glimpse of our vacay!


real girl travels

real girl travels

real girl travels

real girl travels

Just looking at the pictures makes me feel more relaxed! Anyway, when we got back I had an idea to try out an Ask Me Anything Video. I asked you via Insta Stories if you thought that was a decent idea and was so stoked that you responded favourably. So I went ahead and made it. Check it out if you haven’t yet.



I'm nervous and excited to put this out there! Go show it some love. ❤️ The video turned out to be longer than I had anticipated but I really didn't want to leave out any of your questions! Feel free to comment or let me know via personal message what you thought of my answers. Agree with my opinions? Disagree with my take on things? I can take it, I'm a big girl you know. ? Ok, enough of an introduction – here's presenting my first ever ASK ME ANYTHING video. Hope you like it! ?(Ps: watch in HD, it will make me look nicer – or something like that!)STALK HERE -Website: www.realgirl.coInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/realgirlco/Snapchat: smritinotaniTwitter: https://twitter.com/SmritiNotani

Posted by Real Girl on Sunday, June 18, 2017


The general feedback I got from this was to record with better quality next time and to perhaps keep it shorter. Both of which I am completely taking into consideration as you will find out soon. I’ve been meaning to make a lot more videos. In case you’re wondering, it’s for the following reasons:

  1. It’s really fun for me to do as I’ve always had a penchant for public speaking/presenting. It feels natural and exciting to me all at once.
  2. I get really tired from writing everyday and making videos is a nice break for me while still being able to reach out to you all.
  3. I have way too many things to say and it’s humanly impossible to keep writing articles on every little opinion. Short, snappy videos are definitely a respite in this case.

Although I am a writer and videos are not my main area of expertise, I really do want to explore the medium more. Make sure to tell me what you feel about this. Am I on the right track? Or do you feel I should stick to writing and not bother with video content? I genuinely need advice and will look forward to hearing from you, even if it’s via private message or email. The point is your guidance – it doesn’t matter if you don’t comment below.

But, I digress from the updates…

Now as you all know the rains have officially begun. This for me, year after year, is a very trying time. Not only do I fall ill physically, I always show signs of anxiety/depression around the rains. I know I’m one of many who feel this impending sense of doom during the gloomy weather months. There’s a medical term for this feeling – it’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s a real thing that I’m not making up – shall link a post here for you to know more about it.

To make matters worse, my back and neck started acting up and I was rendered useless and in pain for a few days. I have had this problem before and have come to realize that it is an occupational hazard for me. I spend hours typing away (apart from doing many other things) on my laptop. I was about to sign up for physiotherapy when life had other plans.

In a pretty sudden turn of events, my grandmother passed away last Tuesday (27th June, 2017). I really don’t want to say much about it here, I’ll link the little Instagram tribute post down below. We are just glad that she didn’t go through much suffering, although it is taking us a little while to accept that she’s not around any more. Just the Friday before her demise, she was hale and hearty, and went for a walk even. I know this is an irreparable loss and my thoughts are constantly with my own mother (who is incredibly brave and strong) and my Maama’s family who lived with my grandmother in Delhi. They will all feel the loss more than I can ever imagine. Being around my family for the last few days has really made me think so much about life, love, loss, and longing.

Amidst parathas laced with extra butter, generous kharchi envelopes, and serious Dilli twang, many a summer/winter passed with vivid memories of 'Nani's House'. My Nani was a tiny yet fierce woman with the face of an angel but enough strength to battle an army. She together with my nana, birthed and raised two wonderful children and four even more wonderful grandchildren (if we may say so ourselves). She lived a long, sometimes turbulent, yet beautiful life, and left us yesterday for what I can only presume is a long overdue date night with Nana. I hope the two crazy kids are enjoying their second innings up there together. Meanwhile, at Nani's house, we reminisce fondly and find a glimpse of her in every nook and cranny; in her vegetable garden raised with love, in her little corner dedicated to the Gods, or in her son's voice or daughter's smile. RIP Nani, thank you for all the wonderful memories. 🙂

A post shared by Real Girl | Smriti Notani (@realgirlco) on

Needless to say, I can’t suddenly snap out of the mood that has pretty much punctuated my last few weeks. But I’m trying, I swear. Slowly but surely, I’m getting back to life, routine, and happy thoughts – because as they say, the show must go on.

Sorry about the emotional nature of this post; perhaps you were expecting my signature tone and were let down. I’ll make it up to you soon, I promise.

That, incidentally, brings me to the last and most important order of business –

I plan to do very exciting things on the blog soon. Even though I work really hard on all the content I put out already, I am going to work even harder on consistency. I have always been scared of biting off more than I can chew – work wise. I keep stressing about the writing assignments that are non-blog related but I have decided to focus more on building the Real Girl community. I won’t stop my other writing assignments, but I’ll work that stuff around Real Girl and not the other way around. Give me a few days, and I’ll get back with a concrete plan. Till then, Au Revoir. Thanks for reading this long-ass update. Now send me good vibes and go hug your family!

Much love,


Real Girl


PS: I really hope you know that even if nothing goes up here, I’m *always* active on my socials. Go follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat if you aren’t already.

PPS: My neck is much better now. It sorted pretty much by itself. A bit much like life, no? 🙂


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May Favourites: The Time I Tried To Act Fancy AF

The year is flying by, we are already on month 6 of 12. What is this sorcery? I need a minute to digest this. Actually screw that, I need a drink to digest this! Where’s my cocktail?!

While I’m (clearly) flying off the handle and acting deranged, there are still things I’ve loved using/having/buying/experiencing during the month of May. Check ’em out as I calm my nerves. *Gulps drink*

  1. Forest Essentials

It was recently mother’s day and my mom’s birthday (God clearly intended her to be a mother) so I really wanted to get her a nice, pretty present. I’ve spoken about Forest Essentials on my social media before, but I *love* that store. It always smells divine and really gives you that premium feeling. I bought my mom this nice box of FE goodies and I’m so happy with it. It’s a box filled with sunscreen, toner, lip scrub, etc – total of 6 products, it’s part of their skincare edition if I’m not wrong. The packaging is lovely, the colours are soothing, and the products look awesome. I know I can’t review them exactly because I haven’t used them (yet :P) but in general, I love whatever I have used from this brand and think this is a nice gifting option for anyone. (PS: Sorry mom, I gave it to you and took it back to click it! #BloggerProblems)

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may favourites

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2. Choko la

When the boy was feeling generous or in love with me (shy face) he bought home this pretty orange bag from Choko la. Inside it is the cutest looking pink tin box – yeah, you already know it; the kind I’ll keep forever! And inside the box is the yummiest cinnamon flavour hot chocolate powder that has straight up changed the game! All you have to do is mix it with milk and then let your taste buds celebrate. Now I didn’t know much about this brand before, I think it’s Delhi based but their tagline reads ‘deeply divine chocolates’ and I agree! The box also came with a little leaflet that talks about the other flavours that it comes in – white, hazelnut, dark, etc. I can’t wait to try all because this may just be the perfect hot chocolate ever! Also correct me if I’m wrong, but anything cinnamon flavoured is always tricky right? Well, tried and tested now, I can tell you Choko la gets it right and I’m in love with my steaming mug of hot chocolate goodness.

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3. Laptop sleeve

I’ve been needing a laptop sleeve ever since I got the new laptop back in November. Finally got down to ordering one online. PS: Propshop24 is the place to be if you’re in the market for quirky products. Love their stuff; plus the quality never disappoints. There was a wide variety but I went with this one because of the funky colours at the back (which incidentally match my blog theme – pink and orange) and this very caricaturish girl in the front who I like to think looks like me! Her sweatshirt says ‘go away’ and she’s sipping on coffee. Also, her body language screams ‘so done with it’ – very me! 🙂

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4. Weekly planner

I’ve wanted a desk planner that shows me the whole week ahead for quite a while now. It really helps me plan out and schedule my posts + other tasks. Very happy with the quality and design of this one; incidentally, also from Propshop24.

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5. Live Stream

I absolutely cannot leave out my favourite experience from May. So Dhruvi, from Alice Wandering (go check her blog out) invited me to join her on a Facebook Live stream. She often collaborates with and profiles interesting people on her page, and I was stoked when she asked me to! We had a fun and easy breezy chat about all things blogging, growing up, being single, being married, being Indian, etc. It was very informal and very fun to do. The best part of it all for me was how many people reached out after! I got messages and calls saying they watched the live stream and loved it. Do check it out if you haven’t yet and get to know us a little better, perhaps? 🙂

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Dhruvi (Alice) and me!

6. Fancy AF Phone Cover

Now as you know I got a new phone, and that comes with the ultimate temptation of buying new covers. I found this marble one at a brand called Case Factory at the Lil Flea and started using it last month. I think the marble finish looks fancy AF. I’m pretty sure it’s on trend. Have you seen these anywhere? Or wait – are they too common already?! What do you think?

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7. Dream Tee

I just saved the best for last!

So last month a very cool surprise reached my door step. There’s this awesome brand called PrintOctopus which incidentally I have seen online before. They sent me a gift; a t-shirt with my hashtag #keepingitreal. I am still so excited about this! What a cool thing to own. Besides, the quality is great and the material is really soft. I’m (for real) ordering more stuff from them. I’ll show you when it arrives. For now, I’m #keepingitreal in style. DONOT be alarmed if you see me wear this t-shirt every other day. Oh and btw, you can order the same thing if you like! I’m leaving the links below:

 Available on PrintOctopus
 may favourites
 may favourites
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Real Girl MakeUp Hacks (Summer Special)


As some of you may already know, makeup artist and youtuber Minelli is my go to person for all things makeup and beauty.

I am super interested but relatively new to the world of beauty products and tutorials so I’m really not an expert!

Love it when she comes in and shows us some super useful hacks for normal people (basically realistic, doable things)

You can check our previous collaborations here and here

I’d love it if you could let me know if you find this useful at all?! Or if you have any beauty questions you’d like for us to cover!

PS: Do not miss my ridiculous expression on touching the beauty sponge and also if you pay close attention, you can watch me zone out at some points. (Sorry Minelli) 😛

Just keeping it way-too-real guys *facepalm*


Real Girl Make Up Hacks! (Summer Special)

Heyaaaa :)Here's the full video of 100% tried and tested makeup hacks by Minelli (makeup artist and youtuber). These should sort us out for the summer (and monsoon). Thanks Loca MiCo – Minelli Coelho for spilling your secrets here! <3To check out our #RealGirlMakeUpHacks post on the blog, click here: http://bit.ly/2rOAYdp

Posted by Real Girl on Saturday, June 3, 2017

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#RealGirlsRock: In Conversation With Savi From Bruised Passports


A little note before I begin this interview.

Savi is one of my favourite bloggers, so this interview was very exciting for me. I am mesmerised by Bruised Passports and the high quality of content they put out consistently. It is a sad reality today that most bloggers are not in the least concerned about what they actually write on their blog. But then there are people like Savi and Vid who question that paradigm and leave hope for bloggers like me, who in fact, would love to focus on the writing. I had the pleasure of meeting Savi and Vid at their recent meet up in Mumbai. They were both absolute troopers and handled the million questions hurled at them with a sense of humour, and oodles of candour; thus cementing their position in my Favourites list. (Dear Savi and Vid, although it may not seem like much, this is a great honour and I suggest you bask in the glory of this award at least for a whole three minutes!) 😛

Alright, without much further ado, I present to you – ‘The time I asked Savi too many questions!’  Enjoy 🙂

bruised passports

If you weren’t this awesome-traveller-blogger-lady, what would you be?

A lecturer of English Literature or a professional dreamer (if there be such a thing!)

Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

I cry really easily in front of people I love.

What’s your favourite brand?

To be honest, I don’t really have one. My suitcase is a mélange of things from dozens of countries. But I really love Free People’s aesthetic.

One thing you would never endorse?

There’s a long list but at the top are fairness creams and any brand or product that goes against the grain of gender equality.


bruised passports

Any advice for those who want to become bloggers? 

Be consistent, celebrate your individuality, and produce high quality content.

What’s the toughest part of this profession?

I will admit that the fact that you have to style, conceptualise, execute, photograph, articulate, and critique all your own shoots is one of the toughest parts of being a blogger! But it’s also the most REWARDING and fun because it involves constantly challenging yourself – that’s because as a travel blogger, one doesn’t have access to controlled studio lighting or large wardrobes. Instead you have to contend with clothes that come out of a suitcase, shoot in real environments, surrounded by real people and dominated by the vagaries of weather. That makes it challenging but I love EVERY bit of it – it’s an amazing feeling to see your vision come to life in photographs that tell a story about your way of seeing the world.

bruised passports

What keeps you motivated?

I strive to keep my loved ones close to me – so their affection and support really keeps me motivated. Hearing from readers also really eggs me on. I love interacting with our virtual family all around the world.

Someone you look up to?

I don’t really have role models but I really look upto people who question convention and stereotypes in daily life. They’re the true heroes.

Best piece of advice you ever got…

It’s impossible to please everyone. I didn’t realise the profundity of the statement till I made a career in the digital world!

Describe your personal style in one line…

Bohemian and laid-back.

bruised passports

What would you tell a young girl who’s not too sure what career path she wants to take?

Experiment. Don’t get taken in by what you see on social media and choose the most fashionable or glamorous profession. Dabble in a  host of things and choose the one that makes your heart sing.

What’s your idea of unwinding?

A cabin in the woods, good music, and coffee with Vid – my perpetual partner in crime (of course)

What feeds your soul? (Silly question, but I’ll ask any way!)

Poetry, mountains, music.

bruised passports

How addicted are you to social media?

I work in social media, so I’m perpetually checking my phone and curating photographs or memoirs . But I do try to take a step back every once in a while because I don’t like the idea of being addicted to social media.

What’s your take on feminism?

I am a staunch feminist. Nobody should be afraid of the word feminist. I think both men and women should be proud to call themselves feminists because feminism, to me, is just another word for true equality (which, in turn, breeds true happiness)

One misconception people have about entrepreneurs…
That it’s a glamorous job and everything comes easy to them. Truth is, that is as far from reality as is possible. You have to work very hard and sacrifice a lot to follow your dreams and translate them into reality.

bruised passports

One thing that “growing up” has taught you…

Not to take anything for granted.

One thing that travelling has taught you…

Human emotions are the same world over – teenagers feel heart breaks the same, families feel grief the same, and couples feel love the same.

What does being a Real Girl mean to you?

Someone who celebrates her individuality, questions patriarchy, asserts her ideological opinions, and spreads love (for what would the world be without it!)

*Sigh* I honestly couldn’t have put it better myself! 🙂

Thank you so much, Savi! 

bruised passports


All photographs are taken from their blog: http://www.bruisedpassports.com/

You can also follow their travels on their envy inducing Instagram feed.  




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