Malayalam News

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s ‘Churuli’ Streaming on OTT is Not the Certified Version, Says CBFC

Churuli, director Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Malayalam film which released on SonyLIV on Friday, stirred up some controversy over its usage of cuss words. And now, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has put out a statement noting that the version of Churuli that premiered on the OTT platform is not the certified copy of the film.


The film, starring Chemban Vinod JoseVinay Forrt, and Joju George, has received mixed reactions over its use of cuss words from the general public, political parties and social media users. While some say the language used in the film could be considered a part of the character portrayal which the context demanded, others feel it could have been avoided. 

Meanwhile, CBFC Thiruvananthapuram’s Regional Officer Parvathy V said, in a statement, “It is hereby clarified for the kind information of the general public that the Malayalam feature film Churuli which is being exhibited via OTT platform SonyLIV is NOT the certified version of the film.”

The statement further adds that Churuli was certified A (adults only) with suitable excisions/modifications by CBFC in accordance with the Cinematograph Act of 1952, Cinematograph Certification Rules of 1983, and the guidelines issued by the government of India.

To understand the process of certification for OTT releases, Silverscreen India spoke to Jishnu Harindra Varma, director of No Man’s Land, which released recently on Amazon Prime Video with an ‘A’ certificate.

No Man’s Land is an out-and-out dark film that features violence and drug usage. There are also a few cuss words,” Jishnu explains. “When we sent the film to CBFC, we requested ‘A’ certification as the content is meant for persons above the age of 18. The CBFC initially suggested a few minor changes, such as trimming the drug-making sequences and cutting out some cuss words. We removed those as per the suggestion and got the certification.”

Jishnu further adds that unlike other OTT platforms, Amazon Prime Video is concerned only accepts films with CBFC certification.

Pellissery’s Churuli is a fantasy mystery thriller based on the short story Kaligeminarile Kuttavalikal by Vinoy Thomas. The film’s screenplay is written by S Hareesh, who wrote the popular novel Meesha.

The film’s synopsis on SonyLIV reads: “Two undercover cops trailing a fugitive find themselves trapped in a perpetual labyrinth of a village. A lovely mysterious forest that, like a chameleon, changes its colours and lays hidden. People with smiling faces, harbouring a thousand secrets inside. Pathways stretched out from inside people to the forest and back. Labyrinths unfold from labyrinths. A road that extends boundless. The cops, losing track of time, wonder about the day they stepped into the village.”


Pellissery won a Special Mention for Best Direction at the 25th International Film Festival of Kerala for Churuli. The film also bagged the audience poll award (Silver Peacock). 

Meanwhile, the cuss word issue is not the only controversy the film finds itself embroiled in. Followers of spiritual leader Subhananda Gurudeva staged a protest against Churuli by burning the film’s poster at Mannar in Alappuzha district. The protestors took issue with the use of the song Anandam Paramanandam Ente Kudumbam, written by Subhananda Gurudev, in the backdrop of a scene set in a toddy shop. They also allege that the makers used the song without the permission of Sree Subhananda Ashram.