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Jayan Cherian

Fimmaker and Poet

Challenging body fascism and profound social conservatism in India

Cherian is a prolific Indian filmmaker who studied in New York. He has made numeous experimental documentaries and short films in less than 10 years: Tandava the Dance of Dissolution (2006), Holy Mass (2007), Tree of Life (2007), Soul of Solomon (2008), Capturing the Signs of God (2008), Love in the Time of Foreclosure (2009) and Shape of the Shapeless (2010).

His debut feature film, Papilio Budha, premiered at Berlin International Film Festival in 2014. It is about a group of displaced untouchables who embrace Buddhism in order to escape from caste oppression.

His second feature film, Ka Bodyscapes (click here in order to read our review), was critically acclaimed in 30th BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival (in 2016).

He often casts non-professional actors and social activists in order to address urgent, subversive and controversial topics in contemporary India – such as homophobia, misogyny and religion. In Shape of Shapeless, Cherian touches on a theme which he elaborates in Ka Bodyscapes: boundaries and the taboos associated with the human body.

Cherian raises his voice against controversial themes in a very conservative society, in a way similar to Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi (who was arrested and banned from making films for 20 years). He is concerned with gender, race, class and sexual orientation in a society that punishes free-minded individuals. DMovies hopes that Cherian’s films will be divulged in India, and that the director will not have a fate similar to his Iranian counterpart.

Cherian is also a poet. He published four collections of award-winning poetry throughout his career. His email is:

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