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‘As an artiste, I’m afraid of what is happening in India right now’

Jeo Baby, director of the Malayalam film Kathal - The core, talked about the worrying trend of films in India going through many forms of censorship.

‘As an artiste, I’m afraid of what is happening in India right now’

Director Jeo Baby

CHENNAI: It is a worrying trend that films in India today go through many forms of censorship, said Jeo Baby, whose recent film Kaathal – The Core shows Malayalam superstar Mammootty as a homosexual man, resetting the narrative of the gay community in popular cinema. The sensitive portrayal devoid of gay tropes – for long, the community has only been a fodder for humour – won many hearts.

“But I’m afraid about what is happening in India right now. We are facing religious and political censoring. It is worrying not only for filmmakers, but all artistes,” Baby said in an interview.

Censorship is not something new to Baby. In January 2021, when he was all set to release his other critically acclaimed film, The Great Indian Kitchen, starring Nimisha Sajayan – which succinctly brought out how the society stifles women and their freedom – Covid-19 restrictions made theatrical release impossible. But popular OTT platforms were not ready to touch the film, as the film also tackled a socio-political issue that was playing out at that time – menstruating women’s entry into Sabarimala temple. He finally had to release the film on a Malayalam streaming platform, Neestram. Baby said artistes must stand firm for their creative freedom.

“We must find new platforms for screening or streaming these kinds of films. I think we all need to get together, as we are fighting against social conditioning. It may be possible that at some point a lot of artiste-s are jailed because of their art. But if we fight together, we will win this, I know that. There’s hope through art,” added Baby.

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