Kerala

Theatres refuse to screen ‘Biriyani’, says director

Sajin Babu  

Biriyani-Flavours of the flesh, the Malayalam movie that won the jury’s special mention at the 67th National Film awards, is being shunned by a section of theatre employees in the State who have been dissuading movie goers from watching the film.

Director Sajin Babu told reporters here on Monday that an organised effort to ensure that the movie did not reach the desired audience was evident from the way some theatres refused to screen it even when 20 to 25 people were present to watch it.

Biriyani, that deals with the problems faced by two Muslim women in Thiruvananthapuram and how they break out of the religious barriers, has brought laurels to the State in the form of several awards in international film festivals. The NETPAC award for best film in the 20th Asiatica Film Festival in Rome, Jury price for best film in Bangalore International Film festival, and best film at the Caleidoscope Indian Film Festival, Boston are a few. Kani Kusruti who plays the lead character Khadeeja won the best actress award at Moscow Film Festival, the Caleidoscope festival and second best actress award at imagine Film Festival in Madrid, Spain, besides the Kerala State Film award for best actress in 2019.

Sajin Babu said that the movie, that was rated ‘adults only’ by the Censor Board due to its sexual content, was accepted even by conservative people who watched it completely and understood the context. However, the theatre employees might have watched only a part of it and could have judged the movie based on that, he said, refusing to name any one for conspiracy against the movie.

“Such open statements are commonplace in European cinema and in some other parts of the world. We enjoy such movies, but when the same openness is portrayed in a Malayalam movie, it becomes a problem,” Sajin Babu said.

With the refusal from some theatres to screen it, the movie will soon be released in one of the OTT platforms. “I wanted my movie to be watched by common people, not just the festival goers. Hence we released it in theatres. Now I have no other option than release it on OTT,” Sajin Babu, who has also directed movies such as Asthamayam Vare and Ayal Sasi said.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 11:45:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/theatres-refuse-to-screen-biriyani-says-director/article34190586.ece

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