Thiruvananthapuram: Hearing the name of this column, Jayan Cherian smiles. “More than starting trouble, it’s been ending trouble for me, for both my films,” says the director, who even as we speak, is fighting for the right to screen his second film Ka Bodyscapes. His first film Papilio Buddha too had run into similar troubles back in 2012. The film which dealt with Dalit issues was banned in India but then he got permission to screen it at the International Film Festival of Kerala. “But later they had to cancel the screening owing to political pressures,” Jayan recalls. He then planned a parallel screening at the Co Bank Towers in Thiruvananthapuram, but that too was stopped, with the police not giving permission.
Jayan had begun working on the script of Papilio Buddha since 2007. “The writing process got over in 2011. What is special about it was that the central character Kariyan was based on a prominent activist Kallen Pokkudan, who also agreed to play the role in the film.” Thampy Antony, Prakash Bare, who produced the film with Jayan, also acted in it. There was a rape scene in it that the censor board had found objectionable, among other things.
“In certain places, rape becomes part of punishment, as part of moral policing. They had had a problem with that scene. But then what about Pulimurugan – it is an environmental crime to kill the national animal but nobody had a problem with that. But I am not for banning any film. I believe in the freedom of the artist.” Jayan is shocked that after getting the censor board certificate on September 27 to clear his second film within 90 days the censor board has appealed to reverse the verdict. “When a film is about anything unsettling the status quo, the filmmaker’s life is made difficult,” he says sadly.