The Kerala Story

The Kerala Story 


"The Kerala Story" is an interesting Indian Hindi-language drama film that premiered in 2023, engaging audiences with its content and contentious subjects. Sudipto Sen directed the film, which was produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani.

The Kerala Story



story centers around a group of women from the beautiful state of Kerala, which is located in southern India. These women are trapped in a perilous situation in which they are pushed into converting to Islam and joining the infamous Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The story dives into their problems, examining the implications and obstacles they confront after being involved with this radical organization.


The assertion that "The Kerala Story" is based on a true story is one of the most contentious aspects of the film. The film's producers promote it as an exposé of the supposed Hindutva conspiracy idea known as "love jihad." According to this view, there is a concerted effort to convert Hindu women to Islam by romanticizing relationships with Muslim males. It is important to emphasize, however, that this notion lacks solid evidence and has been largely criticized.


The film erroneously claims that thousands of Hindu women from Kerala have been forcibly converted to Islam and recruited into ISIS, maintaining a common misconception. By exaggerating these accusations, "The Kerala Story" incites controversy and exacerbates existing conflicts amongst religious communities.


When it was released in theaters on May 5, 2023, it quickly attracted recognition and became one of the year's highest-grossing Hindi films. Its success can be credited in part to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling political party. During the Karnataka assembly election, the BJP intentionally used the film as a tool in its campaigns, leveraging the contentious subject matter to gain support.


Despite its commercial success, "The Kerala Story" was panned by film reviewers. Many critics panned the film for its Islamophobic overtones, claiming that it perpetuated damaging stereotypes and presented a skewed narrative. They saw the film as little more than propaganda, aimed at further polarizing society and instilling fear.


cast


"The Kerala Story" is an interesting Indian Hindi-language drama film that premiered in 2023, engaging audiences with its content and contentious subjects. 



The film stars 


Adah Sharma as Shalini Unnikrishnan/Fatima Ba


 Yogita Bihani as Nimah


 Sonia Balani as Asifa


 Siddhi Idnani as Geetanjali


 Devadarshini as Shalini's mother


 Vijay Krishna as Ishak


 Pranay Pachauri as Rameez


Pranav Misshra as Abdul.


Box office


The film had a strong start in India, collecting 8.03 crore on its first day, making it the fifth-best opener of 2023. As of 3 June 2023, the film had earned 275.86 crore (US$35 million) in India and 11.93 crore (US$1.5 million) abroad, for a total worldwide collection of 287.79 crore (US$36 million). This feat places it as the year's second-highest-grossing Hindi film. While the film was a huge success in northern India, it received only mediocre or below-average reviews in the south.

   Response

Promotion by Ruling Party

The film has received tremendous backing from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its affiliated organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The film was used by the BJP as a weapon for political messaging during the Karnataka assembly elections. In an electoral event in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly backed the film, alleging that it uncovered a "conspiracy" and accusing the Indian National Congress, which condemned the film, of backing terrorism. To help promote the film, BJP President J. P. Nadda organized special screenings and invited "young Hindu girls" to attend. Because of the film's success, it was tax-free in both Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is in power. The RSS's official mouthpiece, The Organiser, went so far as to call the film a "dangerous truth."

Public protest

The movie's contentious nature was brought to light by the public demonstrations it generated in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Unfortunately, the movie did poorly in Tamil Nadu, and the Tamil Nadu Multiplex Association decided to stop showing it there going forward. The filmmakers, who vehemently dispute these assertions, believe that political suppression is at work. Unfortunately, Kerala experienced a similar outcome in the movie.



Bans and Litigation

Just before its publication, several petitions asking for a ban because it incites racial tension were submitted to the Madras High Court, Kerala High Court, and Supreme Court of India. The courts either dismissed or rejected these petitions. However, the filmmakers were instructed to remove all marketing materials, including the trailer, which made the claim that 32 000 girls had actually converted to Islam and joined ISIS.


The film was prohibited by the West Bengal government on May 8th, citing "hate speech." They highlighted negative intelligence inputs indicating an uptick in communal tensions among the audience. The filmmakers appealed to the Supreme Court, and the prohibition was temporarily lifted. Nonetheless, the filmmakers had to agree to two additional disclaimers: first, that the individuals in the film were not legitimate, and second, that the film was a dramatized depiction of true events.

Conclusion 


Since its 2023 premiere, the Hindi-language drama film "The Kerala Story" has sparked debate and drawn attention. The movie examines the suffering of Keralan women who are supposedly forced into joining ISIS and converting to Islam. The allegations made in the movie, however, are unsupported by evidence and have drawn criticism for supporting a biased narrative and maintaining negative stereotypes.


Despite its box office success, the movie has gotten unfavorable reviews from critics who see it as propaganda that encourages religious and Islamophobic division. Concerns about the film's intentions and effects have also been raised by its affiliation with the government's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its usage as a political tool during elections.

While "The Kerala Story" was a box office triumph, the film received conflicting reviews in different parts of India. The film's contentious nature sparked popular outrage, state prohibitions, and legal challenges, with petitions trying to ban the picture based on encouraging racial animosity.

Overall, "The Kerala Story" is a disputed film that emphasizes the importance of responsible storytelling and honest depiction, particularly when dealing with sensitive issues and real-life occurrences.


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