The Kerala Story , directed by Sudipto Sen, has been the top story since it was announced. Entailing the story of four women who were portrayed to have been converted to Islam, and sent to ISIS. The initial reaction to the film was mixed, where the right-wing termed this film to be the ‘truth’. Others argued that the film has botched the numbers out of proportion, alleging the movie to be pro-right propaganda.
The concept of ‘forced conversions’ and ‘Love Jihad’ were the points of contention surrounding this film. It is not an unknown fact that the notorious terrorist organization ISIS tries to recruit fighters from around the world. The director commented that the film’s aim is to spread awareness about the ‘brainwashing’ in parts of Kerala. When asked about the claims made by the film, the director cited statements made by former Kerala chief ministers. Soon after its release, the governments of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu refused to screen it, citing religious tensions.
The film has themes that are upsetting to Muslims, critics overall argue. The film claims that over 32 thousand women from Kerala have been brainwashed and sent to ISIS in Afghanistan, Syria, and the greater middle east. A quick fact check shows that up until 2020, only 66 Indian citizens were known to have been joining ISIS. This number was quickly hashed out by the filmmakers and reduced to three women who converted to Islam.
The concept of Love Jihad is another underlying theme of the movie. The right-leaning parties of Indian politics allege that men of different faith lure Hindu women under the pretext of romantic relationships. The film claims that there is a ‘Dangerous conspiracy’ to convert Indian women and send them to ISIS.
A petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a member of the Indian Union Muslim League to cancel the certificate that was issued to the film. The claim stated that the certificate given to the film has violated the Statutory provisions of the guidelines. Both the supporters of the critics have their valid points. It is now up to the audience and their better judgment to label the film as truth or blatant propaganda.
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