Varthamanam, a Malayalam movie starring National award winning actor Parvathy Thiruvoth in the lead, has been -sans reason - denied permission for screening by the Kerala regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Parvathy plays the role of a researcher at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi in this film, which also stars noted actor Roshan Mathew. Reportedly, the film was based on the violence that took place in JNU campus in 2019, when students and teachers who protested the fee hike were attacked by armed men, which led to police action.
The film is produced by Aryadan Shoukath, a Congress party leader and producer of national award winning films Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam (2003) and Daivanamathil (2005).
Although the reason for the denial of permission is unknown, one of the Censor Board members - Adv V Sandeep Kumar, who is also state vice president of Morcha of the BJP, had tweeted that the permission was denied as Aryadan Shoukath was its script writer and producer. The full tweet read: “As a member of the Censor Board, I saw the movie Varthamanam. The theme was the persecution of Muslims and Dalits in the JNU agitation. I opposed it. Because Arydan Shoukath was its script writer and producer. Of course, the theme of the film was anti-national.”
Although the said tweet was later removed, Sandeep Kumar tweeted on Tuesday (in Malayalam, which roughly translates to): “I do not take a stand based on my caste and religion. It is anti-national to try to incite hatred and riot through film and writing. That is what I meant, but some people try to divert the subject by giving it the colour of religion.”
Shoukath has said that the movie will be submitted to the Censor Board’s revising committee in Mumbai. “We cannot send the movie for any award this time if we do not get the Censor Board clearance before December 31,” he has told the media.