The Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes, directed by Jayan Cherian, has been denied clearance by the Revising Committee of the Central Board Of Film Certification, a month after it was reported that the Examining Committee had refused to certify the film in April.
In a letter sent to the makers on Monday, the film — which tells the story of a gay painter Haris, his lover Vishnu, and their friend Sia — has been rejected for "ridiculing, insulting and humiliating Hindu Religion" and for offending "human sensibilities". In an interview to The News Minute, the 50-year-old filmmaker called the CBFC "feudal, homophobic and very much misogynistic".
In the interview, Cherian, who lives in New York, has said "The film talks about a range of issues; from taboo around menstruation to same sex love. It is about a group of people using their bodies as tools for political resistance."
The film has been making its way through the festival circuit, having screened at the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival in March earlier this year. "We made the film to show it in Kerala, in India," he told TNM. "It is being displayed in festivals across the world, but we cannot release it in our own country."
For Cherian, who has made a number of experimental documentaries and narrative shorts before, it is the second time in a row that the Censor Board has caused trouble. His debut feature, Papilio Buddha, which focused on discrimination against Dalits, had gone through the same rigmarole.
After the Revising Committee issued 56 cuts in the film, the makers took the film to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), a statutory body that is often thought to be more progressive than the CBFC itself.
However, while the FCAT was ready to pass the film relatively unscathed, there was a strange request: the body wanted quotes by noted Dalit figure, politician, and social reformer B.R. Ambedkar to be muted in the film. "In a democratic country, asking a film maker to delete a quote, that too of the Father of the Constitution, from his work of art is ridiculous," Cherian was quoted as saying.
Watch the teaser of the film below.
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