Makers of 'Papilio Buddha' move censor tribunal

Papilio Buddha

Makers of the Malayalam film 'Papilio Buddha', on the plight of displaced Dalits, have moved the Censor tribunal for certification after the Board's review committee suggested certain cuts and mutes which were not acceptable to them.

The Central Board of Film Certification's regional panel here had rejected the film outright on the ground that it contained denigrating remarks about iconic leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi, E M S Namboodiripad and Ayyankali.

The 'filthy language' used in the film and visuals of extreme violence against women were the other reasons cited by the Board for the blanket ban on public screening.

However, on an appeal by the film's producers and New York-based director Jayan K Cheriyan, the CBFC's review panel watched the movie and suggested certain 'cuts and mutes' before it could be publicly screened.

"We rejected the suggestions as it will curtail the film's political space and affect its central narrative. We have now moved the Board's tribunal," Cheriyan told reporters here.

Cheriyan said it was unfortunate that in a democracy like India, there was no space for a counter-narrative on "icons moulded by the upper and middle class intelligentsia with which people are conditioned."

"We are not inventing anything, but only trying to rephrase historical truths in the film," the director said.

He said the Dalit movement took off in Kerala very late unlike in Northern states. The film explored the new identity - political uprising based on Ambedkarism, gaining momentum among Dalits in the region.

"We are trying to make the authentic voices of the Dalits heard," the director said.

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