Filmmaker Saijo Kannanaikkal has come out against the censor board for ordering three cuts, including the climax scene, in his movie Kathakali on grounds of alleged nudity and vulgarity.
Kannanaikkal, 27, claimed that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Officer here was insisting on removal of the portions, which, according to him, were the ‘soul’ of the movie.
As his repeated attempts to make the officer understand the significance of the scenes failed, Kannanaikkal yesterday approached the Kerala High Court against the cut order.
Kannanaikkal alleged that the Board’s move was an infringement on the creative freedom of a filmmaker and his hardships and toils to make his movie dreams a reality. “I did not intend to create any controversy over my movie. What I wanted was to get my movie certified. I was forced to approach the court due to the adamant stand of the CBFC.”
He also claimed that a panel of CBFC, which saw the film, suggested to give the movie a ‘U’ certificate but the officer was reluctant to any certification without removing the ‘objectionable’ scenes.
The two hour-long feature film revolves around the life of an orphan man, who tries to create a space and identity of his own in the society around.
Watch: Trailer of Kathakali
In the climax scene, the protagonist removes his Kathakali attire and crosses the river as a symbolic mark of protest against the society. “There is no display of private parts of anybody or any intercourse scene in my movie. What I showed in the film was essential to justify the story. But, the board could not understand the soul of the movie,” he said.
A physically challenged person, suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a rare disease, Kannanaikkal said he had completed the movie in a very minimum budget and was not financially sound to go ahead with the legal battle.
He also said the certification was inevitable as he could not send the movie to any film festival without the censor board certification. “The CBFC’s attitude is not at all good for the film industry especially for the upcoming filmmakers. It is a body to certify films but should not be the one to teach the filmmakers how to make a film,” the Director said.
The FEFKA Directors’ Union, the forum of the directors of Malayalam cinema, also came in support of Kannanaikkal, a maker of four short films and two documentaries.
The CBFC recently courted controversy by recommending several cuts in the Bollywood movie Udta Punjab.
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