Ka Bodyscapes to hit cinemas tomorrow

To be released in the capital after nearly two-and-a-half years of battle to get clearance

Updated - October 03, 2018 11:42 pm IST

Published - October 03, 2018 06:44 pm IST - KOCHI

A month after the Supreme Court decriminalised same-sex love, Jayan Cherian’s film Ka Bodyscapes , which faced the wrath of Hindutva forces and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for its portrayal of homosexual love between two young men, is set for release on October 5. The film would be released in Thiruvananthapuram, to begin with. With more cinema houses becoming available, it would be taken to other centres in Kerala, Mr. Cherian said here on Wednesday. Posters of the film were found vandalised in various parts of Ernakulam, he said.

Canned in 2015, the film had to wage a protracted battle lasting about two-and-a-half years to get clearance from the CBFC, where it was submitted for certification in April 2016. Constructed against the backdrop of the recent community movements that rustled up a public debate over the issues of purity, public display of affection, prevalent heteronormative standards, rise of the violent political right and gender violence and oppression stemming from religious fundamentalism, the film has a majority of its cast comprising social activists and non-regular actors.

Youths’ struggles

“In a nutshell, it deals with the struggles of Kerala’s youth to find a space for themselves and for individual freedom,” said Mr. Cherian. “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,” he added.

For Mr. Cherian, it has been a long and lone legal battle — against the CBFC, which worked as if ‘motivated’ to smother the film, and a nameless crowd of Hindutva forces, which unleashed an online hate campaign against the film and its maker for its political symbolism and what was over zealously thought to be an irreverent portrayal of the mythical character Hanuman.

While the film had several screenings at festivals outside India, the film fraternity in Kerala, the intelligentsia and even the liberal political formations turned their back on it. “But 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,” Mr. Cherian said, explaining why he wants to take the film to the people.

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