It was just a few days back that 007 lost his license to kiss. And, the iconic spy might have to let go of his women and vodka martinis in the next outing as Indian screens are now too chaste for that. As ludicrous as it sounds, the Censor Board can sometimes beat all definitions of regression. Perhaps there is no comparison between a James Bond film and a Malayalam art-house production, apart from the fact that both were caught in the archaic web of censoring. Chayam Poosiya Veedu may not enjoy a theatrical release ever, but the film has made it to the prestigious competition section of 20th IFFK. “This might be your only chance to watch it,” says Satish Babusenan, who co-directed the film with his brother Santosh Babusenan.
Gautam, an aging writer, is writing a book on Nachiketas, a character from the scriptures who embraced death to know its secret. Vishaya, a mysterious young girl enters his life disrupting his solitude and harmony. He strikes up a slightly romantic relationship with the girl. Another day a young man arrives and invites him to his estate bungalow. Gautam is forcibly taken to this dilapidated house on a hill from where he repeatedly tries to escape. The girl joins them there and Gautam is told that it’s his chance to shed all pretence and look at what he actually is. “It’s an internal exploration. It zooms into the mindscpae of a writer, a man who has entered the autumn of his life. The film shows how this accidental encounter with two young people turns his world upside down. The idea is that each one of us is a painted house, beautified and polished. But inside we are something else and only when the paint peels off you can see that part,” says Satish. While noted theatre artist Kaladharan Nair slips into the role of Gautam, Neha Mahajan and Akram Mohammed complete the key cast.
The Babusenan brothers say censoring is a primitive concept when it comes to expressions of art. “The film has three nude shots and when it was taken for censoring we were asked to delete those scenes. Usually filmmakers are left with no other choice but to chop off the portions. But we absolutely refused to do that and we are going to fight it out legally,” says Satish. Since the film was denied the censor clearance it’s not possible to screen it anywhere in India. “This is the reason why the film couldn’t enter the Indian Panorama at IFFI. When the foreign films screened at the festival are not censored why do they insist on mutilating Indian films? By not budging we are starting a trend, something that will help future filmmakers,” says Santosh.
Chayam Poosiya Veedu will have its first screening on December 6 at Kalabhavan at 6.45 pm. The film has two more screenings at the festival.