The Kerala Story Row: This is how the film faces resistance and rejection in Tamil Nadu...

(This article is authored by Alar) 

The controversial movie The Kerala Story, which has already sparked a row in Kerala over its portrayal of forced conversion and radicalisation of women in the state, has now faced backlash and boycott in Tamil Nadu as well. The Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association has decided not to screen the film from Sunday, citing potential law and order issues and poor performance at the box office. 

M Subramaniam, president of the Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association, confirmed the decision to pull the film from the few multiplexes that had shown it. He stated to PTI, “The film was only shown in a few multiplexes owned by pan-India groups, mostly PVR. Locally-owned multiplexes had already decided not to show the film, as it did not have any popular stars. In Coimbatore for instance, there were two shows so far -- one on Friday and one on Saturday. Even those did not do well. Given that, theatres decided that it was not worth going through the threat of protests and such.”

Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, is set to release on May 5 amid protests, petitions, and political row. The film stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani as three young girls from different parts of Kerala who have been systematically converted to Islam and recruited by the Islamic State (IS) terror group. The film’s teaser, which was released on April 30, claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala were converted to Islam and taken to IS-ruled Syria when the terror group was at the peak of its power.

The film has also faced legal challenges from various groups who sought a stay on its release on grounds of “worst kind of hate speech” and “audio-visual propaganda”. However, the Supreme Court refused to entertain the request, saying that the film has got certification and has been cleared by the board. The court also said that if anyone wants to challenge the release of the movie, they should challenge the certification through an appropriate forum.

Despite the controversies, the film has also received some support from certain sections of society. The film’s screening was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University on May 2 and received cheers from some students who interacted with the filmmakers. The film has also been doing well at the box office, reportedly earning more money on its first Sunday than its opening day.