Screened at int’l fests, YouTube takes ‘Penile Code’ down

A short film ‘Penile Code’, set against the backdrop of re-criminalisation of gay sex in India and screened at several international festivals , has now been taken down from Youtube citing violation of its nudity or sexual content.

Filmmaker Sharat Chandra Bose (29) is now approaching the Youtube seeking restoration of his debut film on the platform. Bose is now working on his second shortfilm ‘Mundan’ (Tonsure) that looks into the lives of a North Indian couple vacationing in Kerala.

Short film Penile Code

Made in 2014, Penile Code has been streaming on the Youtube for almost two years. It was viewed more than four lakh times before it was taken down. Its removal from a platform like Youtube is quite understandable in today’s time and age. But it is a blatant violation of freedom of cinematic expression,” Bose told DH.

Bose said he came to known about the removal while searching for the link on Youtube for a purpose related to ‘Dialogues: Calcutta International LGBT Film and Video Festival to be held from November 23 to 27. The shortfilm has been selected to this festival.

Shot in surrealistic method, the short film explores the troubles of a young lesbian couple in an Indian city where gay sex is banned, violence in their relationship and their struggle with society. Bose explains that Penile Code tries tries to look into the dynamics of the relationship during the time in India when religious lumpiness is on the rise.

While his first film is tries to explore relationship in the present political times through a homosexual couple, the second one is trying to interpret it through a hetro-sexual couple.

Short Film Penile Code 1

The 14-minute short film Penile Code was premiered at the Kinofest International Digital Film Festival-2014 in Romania. Besides being selected to the Cannes Film Festival’s Short Film Corner and International Festival of Cinema in Italy’s Campania, it also won Innovative Film Award at the YOUKI International Youth Media Festival-2014 in Austria.

“According to me any kind of censorship is not acceptable. Censorship is real threat for those who are aiming at public exhibitions like theatre release and govt controlled film festivals etc. It is the outcome of the fear and ignorance of the state mechanism,” Bose said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Nov 13, 2017)

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