Call it the quotidian irony of the times we live in, but it’s something that has ceaselessly amused the makers of the film, Ka Bodyscapes , which explores questions of individual freedom, civil liberties and sexual choices in times of misogyny, homophobia and assertiveness of the rising religious and economic extremist forces.
People claiming allegiance to the RSS issued threats and ‘hate messages’ to its makers as soon as the film’s facebook page was updated with a teaser, a ‘revealing’ poster and synopsis the other day. The film, in the post-production stage now, is set to have a special screening for the media in Kochi in February next.
Directed by the New York-based Jayan Cherian — whose maiden feature film Papilio Buddha had a horrid time surmounting the CBFC roadblock three years ago — Ka Bodyscapes turns the focus on a free-spirited gay painter on the cusp of fame; his love interest who’s a Kabaddi player and their friend Sia, who battles misogyny at her orthodox Muslim home and humiliating labour controls and dehumanising surveillance at her white-collar workspace.
“The film cuts out a slice of contemporary Kerala, recreating in fiction the struggles of the young to gain space in the face of Hindu right-wing aggression in particular and community and class oppression in general. But it’s not pamphleteering that I’ve done. Fundamentally, it’s a poetic love story in the backdrop of an oppressive and intrusive social environment,” explains Mr. Cherian.
However, the film doesn’t overtly target a political group. “That one of the key characters is a painter and his love interest a Kabbadi player, mind the physicality of the game, allowed for rich visual interpretation,” he says.
Believer in plularility, polyphony
A firm believer in the plurality and polyphony of culture, Mr. Cherian had elaborate discussions with his friends Thasni Banu, Jolly Chirayath, Jijo Kuriakose, Deedi Damodaran, N.P. Ashley, Hayaruneesa and N. Shahina before scripting the fictional film.
If he had roped in environmentalist Kallan Pokkudan to essay a key role in Papilio Buddha , Mr. Cherian chose Kannan Rajesh, Jason Chacko and Naseera to play the intensely-portrayed central characters in Ka Bodyscapes. Besides, he has cast seasoned actors like Nilambur Ayisha and Harish Peradi and activists like Jolly Chirayath and B. Arundhathi.