By Manu Sebastian
The film ‘Ka Bodyscapes’ by acclaimed director Jayan C. Cherian had run into several controversies due to its theme of homosexuality and contrarian views about prevalent norms and mores. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had refusal to grant certificate to the film for public exhibition. The reason stated in the refusal order was that the film is “ridiculing, insulting and humiliating Hindu religion, in particular portraying Hindu Gods in poor light”.The film revolves around the homosexual relationship between two men, one who is an artist and another a staunch devotee of Hanuman. Towards the end of the film, the artist makes a painting, depicting his male partner as flying like Hanuman holding Maruthwamala in hand; however holding a mountain of books instead, including the Indian Penal Code with its controversial Section 377 (criminalising “unnatural” sexual offences) written in bold over the book-spine. This imaginative painting, which symbolizes the ‘coming out’ moment of the homosexual protagonist, irked the sensibilities of the CBFC. Apart from that, there were scenes dealing with female masturbation, menstruation, etc., which the CBFC found objectionable. Therefore, certificate was altogether refused to the film.
However, the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala came to the rescue of the film maker. The Court set aside the refusal order of CBFC terming it as arbitrary, unreasonable, and vague. The Court held that the Board ought to have made an effort to certify the film in the appropriate classification by giving an opportunity to the film-maker to modify or delete the scenes which are found to be objectionable. The learned Single Judge who allowed the petition filed by the film-maker observed that mere reference to homosexuality or sexual acts would not make a film obscene. The Board filed appeal before the Division Bench. However, the Division Bench upheld the judgment of the single judge.