The Kerala Story Movie Review: A strong portrayal of events that were buried

YDNews Movie Review: The Kerala Story

It has been a joyous yet difficult ride especially for the film industry to introduce their films on big screens instead of OTT platforms after Covid-19. While people are getting back to their normal selves, filmmakers are getting back to offering great quality content that is educational as well as entertaining for the country. If you are looking for a film to watch next on your watchlist, here’s one that YDnews would definitely suggest. Nowadays, audiences are more into biographies, historical stories and actual stories that educate us about a part of Indian history and atrocities. One such film directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah is The Kerala Story. This film uncovers the truth that had been hidden under the covers of the Indian justice system.

The Kerala Story is a 2023 drama film in Hindi that was produced and directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah. Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani are the film’s stars. The narrative is about a group of Keralan women who are forced to become Muslims and later enlist in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The movie makes the incorrect claim that hundreds of women from Kerala have been converted to Islam and enlisted in ISIS, invoking the “love jihad” conspiracy theory as its foundation.

About The Kerala Story

On May 5, 2023, it was released in theatres. It was a financial success and the second-highest-grossing Hindi movie of the year. Critics, however, gave the piece mainly poor reviews and labelled it as anti-Islam propaganda. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is currently in power, strongly promoted the movie; it utilised it in its propaganda for the Karnataka assembly election, which the BJP ultimately lost. Prolonged legal battles and demonstrations have also been experienced by the movie, mostly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The filmmakers have also been charged with defaming the government and advancing the cause of the Sangh Parivar by the Indian National Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Screengrab from Ada Sharma Instagram Post

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The Cast of The Kerala Story

The cast includes popular as well as talented actors like Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, Siddhi Idnani, Devadarshini, Vijay Krishna, Pranay Pachauri, Pranav Misshra. Every individual has given their best performance for the film. The main characters of the film were able to deliver heartwrenching performances with an accurate Malayali accent.

Story Analysis of The Kerala Story

Although Nimisha Nair, Sonia Sebastian, and Merin Jacob, three women from Kerala who converted to Islam and travelled to Afghanistan with their respective husbands to join ISIS between 2016 and 2018, are loosely based on the events in the movie, the claimed figures are wildly inaccurate because they are based on mistranslations, misquotations, and extrapolations from misrepresentations of unrelated statistics. Less than 200 Indians, mostly from Kerala, have joined ISIS, according to experts from the Observer Research Foundation. The numbers presented in the movie also surpassed ISIS’s total strength.

The trailer, which was made public on November 3rd, 2022, depicted a Hindu Malayali nurse named Fathima Ba who had converted to Islam, joined ISIS and ended up in an Afghan prison. She identified herself as one of the 32,000 missing Hindu and Christian females from Kerala who, after converting to Islam, joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The film’s director, Sen, has been making these accusations for years; in 2018, he created a documentary about the forcible mass conversion of 33,000 girls, both Hindu and Christian, to Islam as part of an “international conspiracy” to turn Kerala into an Islamic state.

Political Response

While several states are banning the film, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party along with its associated organisation the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are supporting the film on a wide platform. At an election event in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi supported the movie, asserting that it had exposed a “conspiracy” and accusing the Indian National Congress, which had opposed it, of supporting terrorism.

The video has drawn criticism from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Indian National Congress, the only two political parties that have ruled Kerala since the state’s independence, for promoting “communal misinformation” in line with the Sangh Parivar’s political objectives. Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) and a number of Muslim political organisations protested in Tamil Nadu.

YD Ratings

Frankly, it was quite a bold move for the filmmakers as well as the cast of the film to be involved in showing the story of a time that has long been neglected. Hats off to the team, cast and crew to make such a powerful movie and make people aware of an event that the country was so unaware of.

Even though the film depicts the exact storyline of the true Kerala events, we could not find one element that could make the audience feel unconnected. From the storyline to the performances by the actors, everything is quite well depicted. However, since the film focuses on sharing the story, some grips tend of loose which may make the audience feel a little bored.

YD Ratings: 8/10

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