Malayalam LGBT Film is “Insulting Hindu Religion”: Censor Board

The Malayalam feature film ‘Ka Bodyscapes’ has a gay couple and a Muslim woman as its protagonists.

2 min read
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="">JayanCherian</a>)

The Censor Board has refused to certify for public exhibition Ka Bodyscapes, a Malayalam feature film revolving around the lives of two gay men and a woman in Kerala.

The board has stated that the film is “ridiculing, insulting and humiliating to the Hindu religion, and portrays Hindu Gods in poor light”.

Prathibha A, the regional officer of the Censor Board, in a letter, wrote:

Derogatory words are used against women. The Hindu God ‘Hanuman’ is depicted in books titled ‘I am a Gay’ and other homo-sexual books. The film also has references to women masturbating, highlights gayness with many gay posters. The film offends women’s sensibilities with it’s use of vulgarity, obscenity, and depravity.
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href=";set=a.1132442390674.2021736.1215715074&amp;type=3&amp;theater">JayanCherian</a>
Photo Courtesy: Facebook/JayanCherian

The release of the Jayan Cherian-directed film had been stalled for some months now.

The filmmaker took to Facebook to explain that the figure in the movie, referred to as Hanuman by the Censor Board, is actually a different character and not the Monkey God.

Jayan wrote:

The Central Board of Film Certification states that we are showing Hindu god Hanuman in a bad light in Ka Bodyscapes. It is not true, the central character in the film is a painter, in one of his paintings he portrays his lover flying with a heap of books, like the mythical Hanuman figure carrying the mountain. There are many titles from gay literature among the books, and the face of the figure is clearly another character in the film, not the Lord Hanuman.

The painting was exclusively made for the movie by artist MM Manjesh and “it is surprising that CBFC is offended by a painting and book titles shown in a film,” he added.

Stating that the makers are planning to move court against the Board’s decision, he said, “the CBFC treats being gay as being ‘criminal’, the film is a same-sex love story, of course, there are several gay characters in it... We believe that we have a right to make our films according to our artistic convictions, and we are not ready to take any editorial advice from the state... It is unfortunate that CBFC is being used as a tool to propagate homophobia and sexual bigotry.”

In an interview to The News Minute earlier this month, Jayan spoke about the hassles he was facing to get his film released in India and blamed the Censor Board for being “feudal, homophobic and very misogynistic”.

Ka Bodyscapes is the story of a painter named Haris, Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and Haris’ lover, and their friend Sia, a woman from a conservative Muslim family questioning patriarchal norms.

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