The upcoming movie ‘The Kerala Story’ has stirred up a political storm in India just a few days after the release of its first trailer.
The film, directed by Sudipto Sen, strives to tell the tale of how women from Kerala were tricked and trafficked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the conflict zone of Syria2. The trailer of the movie showed a burqa-clad woman with the tagline ‘Uncovering the truth that was kept hidden’ which sparked protests in many parts of Kerala.
The controversy is the Kerala Story is being marketed as “based on true events” and revolves around four Kerala women who were converted to Islam and travelled to Afghanistan with their husbands to join ISIS between 2016 and 2018.
Congress has called for a ban on the movie and urged against its release on May 5, 2023. The party said that the Centre should forbid screenings of the movie as the trailer was “full of lies and painted the Muslim community in a bad light”.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the movie appears to have been deliberately made with the aim of communal polarisation and spreading hate propaganda against the state.
“They are trying to spread the politics of division through fake stories and movies. The Sangh Parivar is spreading such myths without any facts and evidence. The big lie that 32,000 women in Kerala converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State was what we saw in the trailer of the film. This fake story is the product of the Sangh Parivar’s lie factory,” Vijayan said in a statement.
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth wing of the ruling CPI(M), also came down heavily on the movie, saying that “Sangh Parivar was using an even more popular medium to humiliate the state and whole community”.
After the trailer of the movie showing a burqa-clad woman with the tagline ‘Uncovering the truth that was kept hidden’ was released, protests erupted in many parts of Kerala
The movie also features dialogues against Hindu deities spoken by Muslim characters and touches on the issue of ‘love jihad’ and the hijab debate in the country. The Congress as well as other political parties believe that the movie misrepresents facts and defames Kerala putting the state in a poor light, especially with an aim to tarnish the Keralite Muslims.
Senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor on Sunday criticized the movie with the controversy surrounding the movie and said, “It may be your Kerala story. It is not our Kerala story.”
Let me stress, I am not calling for a ban on the film. Freedom of expression does not cease to be valuable just because it can be misused. But Keralites have every right to say loud & clear that this is a misrepresentation of our reality. https://t.co/sEIG91mjSP
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 1, 2023
Guys, how many of you believe the said movie is a propaganda hatched by Sanghis to tarnish the image of Keralites especially Muslims ? pic.twitter.com/XgW0Caamua
— Kris Nair (@KrisNair1) May 1, 2023