Award-winning filmmaker, Jayan K Cherian has alleged that his upcoming Malayalam movie, Ka Bodyscapes has been refused certification on the grounds that it ridicules and insults the Hindu religion.
Ka Bodyscapes is an upcoming Malayalam film largely focusing on the lives of LGBT people. The response letter from the censor board says, “The entire content of the film is ridiculing, insulting and humiliating Hindu religion, in particular portraying Hindu gods in poor light”. It also said that Lord Hanuman had been portrayed with “homosexual books”, in the movie. It also said that the movie uses derogatory terms against women.
Jayan, perplexed by this attack on the film, denied all the charges saying the movie was associated with many prominent Kerala feminists and was projected as a feminist campaign. Touching upon the Hanuman comment, he said that one of the characters strikes a ‘Hanuman pose’ holding an insignia against Section 377, India’s colonial-era law that criminalises homosexuality. “This is a bizarre attack on creative freedom and sexual minorities,” he said. Insisting that we all fight the growing authoritarianism in the nation, he said that he was deeply committed to the cause and would fight for the movie in the High Court.
Ka Bodyscapes is set in Kerala’s Calicut city and follows the lives of three people: a struggling painter Haris who is gay; his love interest Vishnu, a village boy with a right-wing family; and a young female factory worker Sia. The movie captures the volatile environment and growing fundamentalism in the South. The movie’s teaser was released last year in October.
Watch the teaser here: Ka Bodyscape Teaser
Unsurprisingly, the teaser garnered a lot of criticism, especially from the homophobic RSS in the state. The director received many threats and hate messages. Actors Kannan Rajesh, Jason Chacko, and Naseera play the central characters in the movie.
Apparently, the movie has already been screened at film festivals around the world. Director Jayan alleged that the certification process was delayed, since his movie was a small-budget film. According to the director, the movie went for certification to the CBFC in Trivandrum, in April. However, the regional office refused to certify the film and forwarded it to Chennai. The final decision was conveyed to him on Monday.
Jayan Cherian is a notable feature filmmaker whose films have won international acclaim. Battling with the censor board is nothing new to him. His previous film, Papilio Buddha also ran into similar problems with the censor board. The movie revolves around a band of landless Dalits who turn to Buddhism to get rid of caste oppression. It was released in 2013.