Month after 377 verdict, Ka Bodyscapes finally gets CBFC nod; set to release in Kerala

Shot in 2015, film-maker Jayan Cherian’s film Ka Bodyscapes, focusing on a same sex relationship, highlights the issues of gender violence and oppression caused by religious fundamentalism

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter
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NH Features

Director Jayan Cherian’s film Ka Bodyscapes will finally be released in Kerala on Friday, October 5. The film was embroiled in controversy after various Hindutva groups vented their ire against the film for portraying a relationship between two young men. Jayan Cherian said on Wednesday the film will be released in Thiruvananthapuram and then will be taken to more cinemas around Kerala, depending on the availability of cinema halls.

The film was made in 2015 and submitted for clearance in Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in 2016, but it was denied clearance, with the board saying that it was attempting to ‘glorify homosexuality’ and portray Hanuman in a bad light. The filmmaker not only had to fight a legal battle but also Hindutva groups as they almost waged a war against the movie and the filmmaker on social media. The posters of the film were also found vandalised in various parts of Ernakulam.

Almost a month after the Supreme Court’s decriminalisation of consensual same sex relations under Section 377, the film finally got the CBFC nod, but with conditions. Even the teaser of the film on YouTube comes with the notice of ‘age-restricted video’.

However, Cherian is happy that his film will finally reach audiences. The remarkable thing about this film is that majority of its cast comprises of social-activists and non-professional actors. What can be understood from the trailer is the filmmaker’s marvellous picturisation of public protests for people’s rights on their own bodies and personal choices, for an individual’s freedom to express their sexuality—now a right upheld by the apex court.

Almost a month after the Supreme Court’s decriminalisation of consensual same sex relations under Section 377, the film Ka Bodyscapes finally got the CBFC nod, but with conditions. The film was submitted for clearance in 2015 but it was denied clearance by the Censor Board then

As The Hindu quoted director Jayan Cherian, “In a nutshell, it deals with the struggles of Kerala’s youth to find a space for themselves and for individual freedom...It’s heartening and significant that it’s reaching cinemas when the apex court has struck down the portion of the law that criminalised homosexual relations.”

Though Ka Bodyscapes had many screenings outside India in various film festivals, the country’s intellectual circle and the Malayali film world maintained a virtual silence around the film. The Hindu quoted Cherian as saying, “We do not want to sit in silence. There’s a lynch mob out there that has browbeaten writer S Hareesh, silenced writer Perumal Murugan and eliminated thinkers and activists like Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh. An artist’s only weapon of resistance is his/her art practice. We need to tell the world that we are alive and refuse to be cowed down.”

The film is expected to open new vistas for mainstream film-makers in India, who, unlike the independent film-makers, are usually conventional in their approach to human relationships and restrict themselves to popularly-accepted beliefs.

Watch the trailer of the film here:

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