As the 'sanskaari' censor board battles with yet another controversy with the Malayalam flick Ka Bodyscapes, its director Jayan K Cherian spoke to India Today on his legal fight to get a go-ahead from the CBFC (Central Bureau of Film Certification).
"I have been going through this process for the last twelve months. There are two high court verdicts in favour of us. The CBFC has had 3 screenings of the movie. They are outrightly denying a certificate. They are not even asking for any cut (sic)," said Cherian, the director of Ka Bodyscapes.
The filmmaker has posted the letter from the censor board on Facebook. According to it, the grounds for refusal are glorification of 'the subject of gay and homosexual relationship' and the portrayal of Hindu religion in derogatory manner.
"The reason is totally ridiculous. Homosexuality is a sexual orientation of human beings. How can I be glorifying it?," Cherian said.
Cherian has claimed that he submitted his film for a certificate in Thiruvananthapuram in April last year but it was sent to a revising committee in Chennai. He approached the Kerala High Court to get a green signal from the CBFC but it wasn't cleared. After this, the CBFC filed an appeal for a larger bench. In December last year, in its judgement the court had directed the board to re-examine the film and inform the director if it can be sanctioned for public exhibition within three months.
"On December 2, the Kerala High Court division bench insisted that the CBFC should watch the film. So Pahlaj Nihalani watched the film two weeks ago in February. We did three screenings. The court has instructed me to see if the CBFC is willing to suggest a cut. But they haven't suggested any," Cherian claimed.
Recently another film Lipstick Under My Burkha was denied a censor certificate. The reason given by the board was that it was too 'lady oriented' with 'contanious sexual scenes (sic)'. Jayan believes that with another movie facing a similar fate, questions have been raised about the credibility of the CBFC in the film industry.
"I am being targeted, its a classic case of muting dissenting opinion of cinema. The ruling party is propagating a particular kind of morality and somebody who is disagreeing with that is being targeted. Specially, in the backdrop of the current political situation in Kerala, like the youth trying to express themselves in public, they are being muted", Cherian told India Today.
Jayan does have an option of approaching the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal with his grievance. But his hopes are minimal.
"I don't trust the system anymore, they don't serve any right. The Apellate Tribunal is under the same person. They only have the right to certify but they are assuming they are right which they are not. It's not desirable in a democracy. The CBFC is a totally unnecessary body of British time, it should be disbanded," Cherian said.