West Bengal becomes first state to ban ‘The Kerala Story’, makers to seek legal options

8 May, 2023 | Pragati Singh

The Kerala Story National

'The Kerala Story,' citing "peacekeeping" and the avoidance of "hatred and violence" in the state.

The West Bengal Trinamool Congress government banned the film ‘The Kerala Story,’ citing “peacekeeping” and the avoidance of “hatred and violence” in the state. West Bengal was the first state to outlaw the film, which depicts the ordeal of three women who are trafficked to ISIS camps after marrying Muslims. Even though the film is now tax-free in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, there is a continuing political outcry.

On the decision to ban the film, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “It is to avoid any incident of hatred and violence, and maintain peace in the state.”

Also raking up the ‘Kashmir Files’, a film on the alleged genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, which ran to packed houses despite evoking protests from the Opposition, the Bengal CM said, “What was ‘The Kashmir Files’? It was meant purely to humiliate a particular section of society. What is ‘The Kerala Story’? It is a distorted story.”

The CM directed the state chief secretary to remove the film from all theatres where it was playing. In response to the ban, the film’s producer, Vipul Amrutlal Shah, stated that they will pursue legal action against the decision.

“If state government won’t listen to us, we will explore legal avenues. However, whatever course we take will be based on legal advice,” Shah told ANI.

The film, directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, drew harsh criticism from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who called it “RSS propaganda.” Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP from Kerala, accused the filmmakers of “misrepresenting” Kerala.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is campaigning for the BJP in poll-bound Karnataka, also weighed in on the controversy, accusing the Congress of siding with terrorists. The lead actors in ‘The Kerala Story’ are Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, and Sonia Balani.

The film sparked outrage after its trailer claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had gone missing and joined the terrorist group ISIS. However, in response to public outrage, the controversial figure in the caravan was later removed. Its trailer description was later changed to a story about three Kerala women.

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