The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has yet again refused to certify the Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes.
Directed by Jayan Cheriyan, the makers had first applied for certification in July last year. More than a year after they first applied for certification, the censor board has refused certification to the film a fourth time.
In a letter served to the filmmaker by CFBC dated August 14, the board says that after reviewing the film, it has come to the conclusion that it cannot issue a certificate for the film.
"Since there is no unanimous decision amongst the panel of Board members who watched the Malayalam feature film Ka Bodyscapes, on 28-07-2017 at Thiruvananthapuram, the Chairman, CBFC, Mumbai, by virtue of the powers conferred on him under proviso to Rule no 24 (12) of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules 1983, deems it prudent to recommend that the Malayalam feature film Ka Bodyscapes cannot be sanctioned for public exhibition. Hence, certification to the Malayalam feature film Ka Bodyscapes is refused,” reads the letter sent to the filmmaker Jayan Cherian.
Reacting to the CBFC's decision to refuse certification fourth time in a row, Jayan took to Facebook to share his ire.
In a series of Facebook posts, Jayan indicated that he was unconvinced about the reasons on the basis of which CBFC has denied certification.
"How come CBFC reaching a unanimous decision or not, is filmmaker's responsibility? The new reason for refusing the certification for Ka Bodyscapes is amazing!" he wrote.
Jayan also wondered whether the newly-appointed CBFC Chairman Prasoon Joshi has any knowledge of this decision. Lyricist Prasoon Joshi replaced Pahlaj Nihalani after the former’s 2 years and 7 months stint was steeped in a number of controversies.
"I got this letter from CBFC today, I am wondering that the new CBFC chairman has any knowledge of it or this is the work of the ousted chairman!" Jayan wrote on Facebook.
Ka Bodyscapes has had a prolonged battle with the CBFC for over a year now. Recently, Jayan also filed a contempt of court case against CBFC after the latter failed to review the film despite the Kerala HC asking them to do so.
In April 2016, the Censor board had denied clearance to the film stating that it contained "sensitive gay scenes, use of derogatory words against women and vulgar dialogues". It referred the film to a revising committee which scheduled a screening on July 5.
The film is a work of fiction that follows the lives of three young people in Calicut—Hari, Vishnu, his lover and rural kabaddi player, and their friend Sia, a woman from a conservative Muslim family in Kerala questioning patriarchal norms.
According to the filmmaker, 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,” he says.
This is not the first time that Jayan’s movie is bearing the brunt of censorship. In 2013 the Censor Board refused to clear his film Papilio Buddha, a film about discrimination against Dalits.
Several activists including Jijo Kuriakose of Queerala and author and sex worker Nalini Jameela have worked in the movie Ka Bodyscapes.
The film has been screened at film festivals around the world including in the BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival 2016.