Despite mired in controversies, Sudipto Sen’s The Kerala Story earned a whopping Rs 8.03 crore on day one. The film starring Adah Sharma on first day itself performed better than the first-day collection of several films like ‘The Kashmir files’ (Rs 3.5 crore), ‘Selfiee’ (Rs 2.55 crore) and ‘Shehzada’ (Rs 6 crore).
The film hit the theatres on May 5. The film revolves around the stories of Hindu women from Kerala who were converted to Islam and trafficked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).One of the main allegations raised is that the film about women in Kerala joining ISIS is not based on facts. Another allegation was that it propagates hatred against the Muslim community.
The film faced several protests in Kerala and elsewhere. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged that the film appeared to peddle lies aimed at creating communal polarisation and spreading hate propaganda against the state. He said that despite the issue of ‘love jihad’ rejected by probe agencies, courts and the Home Ministry, it was being raised in connection with Kerala only to humiliate the state in front of the world. Meanwhile, the opposition Congress in Kerala criticised the film as a bundle of lies” and sought denial of permission for its screening.
The movie revolves around the theory of ‘Love Jihad’. The movie’s first teaser triggered the storm, which claimed that close to 32,000 women were radicalised this way. When the numbers became controversial, the moviemakers claimed it was the story of three women. That’s the number of Kerala women, as confirmed by Indian agencies, which were converted and recruited for the terror group Islamic State.
WHAT THE KERALA HIGH COURT SAID?
Refusing to stall the release the film, the Kerala High Court stated that there were no offensive statements towards any particular faith or community. The High Court Judges watched the trailer and teaser of the movie. After that, the judges said that they did not find that the trailers contained anything offensive to any particular community as a whole. The court also said that the petitioners had not watched the movie. The court observed that a competent statutory body, Central Board of Film Certification, examined the movie and found that the film is suitable for public exhibition.’’
BIG SUPPORT FROM MODI
The Kerala Story found a big support in Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said “such a beautiful state of the country, where people are hardworking and talented. The ‘Kerala Story’ film brings out terror conspiracies happening in that state.”
Addressing an election rally for the BJP in Karnataka’s Bellari, he said that The Kerala Story exposed how terrorism was corroding Kerala. He also said that Congress was defending terrorism by trying to “ban” the film.
Modi noted that Terrorism had taken a new form now. Apart from using weapons and bombs, they are working towards making society hollow from the inside out. The Kerala Story exposed this new face of terrorism, he added.