An uncensored version of Churuli, director Lijo Jose Pellissery‘s Malayalam film, premiered on the SonyLIV OTT platform, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told the Kerala High Court on Wednesday.
The court had issued notices to the CBFC and the film’s makers on December 9 with regards to a plea filed by a lawyer named Peggy Fen over the usage of offensive words in Churuli.
In response to this, CBFC’s lawyer told Justice PV Kunhikrishnan on Wednesday that while a censored version of the film was cleared for public viewing with an ‘A’ certificate, what was eventually released on the OTT platform was the uncensored version. Earlier, CBFC Thiruvananthapuram’s Regional Officer Parvathy V had released a statement to the same effect in November.
Following the CBFC’s submission in court, Fen’s counsel sought time to modify their petition taking this into account.
As no one was present to represent Pellissery, the court listed the case for hearing on January 7.
Churuli was released on SonyLIV on November 19. The fantasy mystery thriller, starring Chemban Vinod Jose, Vinay Forrt, and Joju George, is based on the short story Kaligeminarile Kuttavalikal by Vinoy Thomas. The film’s screenplay is written by S Hareesh, author of the popular novel Meesha.
The film faced mixed reactions for 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.
In her petition, Fen claimed that the words and phrases used in the film “outrage the modesty of women and children, leaving the viewers irritated and distressed.” She further urged the court to issue orders to take down the film from the OTT platform. Her petition also argued that the film did not display any statutory warning on the screen when showing characters consuming alcohol or smoking as is mandatory under the law.
During the previous hearing on December 9, a video clip from Churuli was played in the courtroom and the judge observed that the dialogues were “atrocious.”
However, during Wednesday’s hearing, the justice noted that while Fen may have a good case, she should consider approaching a civil court instead.