The changing ideology of modern Indians exhibits in the public reaction to any Indian cinema. The Indian movie audiences now also patronize films that discuss social issues that affect their daily lives. The “Kashmir Files” and “The Kerala Story” have become pioneers in the Hindi film industry, these films defy the standard Bollywood trends. These movies have given issues that make fence-sitting politicians and film critics uneasy on center-stage.
Where is “The Kerala Story” Banned?
The Indian political parties and their supporters have successfully adopted the cancel-culture of the West. The recent spree of official or unofficial bans on movies unmasks the views of several political parties and their members. Technically the left-wing ideologists cannot slap sanctions on the Movie. The film is certified for public viewership by the Central Board of Film Certification. However, this does not stop them from issuing unsanctioned bans in their regions to stop the screening of “The Kerala Story”. The appeasement politics to win over Muslim votes have exposed the ‘true face’ of politicians to the general public.
While the Madras High Court has rejected the Kerala government’s plea to ban this controversial cinema, politicians in other states continue to disrupt or discourage the screening of “The Kerala Story”. Tamil Nadu multiplexes have stopped or canceled the screenings of this movie. The cost of the tickets was refunded after an unofficial state-wide ban on the movie was placed. This is a clear attempt by the distributors to affirm solidarity with the stance of the state government.
In Jharkhand, an MLA of the Congress Party has warned of public riots and property damage if the movie was given any screenings. He has also appealed to Hemant Soren, the Jharkhand CM, to ban the film. The Trinamool Congress chairperson and CM of West Bengal has publicly stated that her government will take steps to ban this movie from being screened in the state of Bengal.
Although Rajasthan has no political stance on the movie yet, a Rajasthani youth was beaten up outside his home and has received death-threats for supporting the movie on social media.
Why do they want to ban “The Kerala Story”?
Common Indians wonder at the public uproar caused by this movie across the country. The following facts may shed a little light on the reasons this movie faces so many bans.
- The “The Kerala Story” places religious conversions to the front and center of all political conversations.
- The movie exposes the entrapment of women through ‘Love Jihad’ policies by Islamists.
- The movie does not attempt to appease any religion or minority group.
- The film dedicatedly exposes shortcomings of all the religions depicted in the narrative.
- The cinema highlights the rapid radicalization of Kerala as well as India.
The above facts will only worry the radicals and not the ‘peace-loving’ sections of society. Thus the political machinery that has activated itself to advocate violence to shut-down the movie, must deeply resonate with the ideology depicted by the production. Goodwill towards all humankind may not be the sole reason for rising calls for bans on “The Kerala Story”.
Politicians translate Viewers as Voters
“The Kerala Story” was released nation-wide on the 5th of May 2023. It has received box-office success despite the controversial content. The stance of political parties on this film is a litmus test of their ANTI – HINDU policies. The movie is not Islamophobic in general, it only displays the radicalized sect of Islam like ISIS. Those who identify with this radical ideology may find the movie offensive.
Wherever politicians are asking for bans against this film, they display their fear of this radical Islamist sect. However, these politicians have confused movie audiences for voters. They believe a movie may affect their vote-banks. West Bengal is home to 25% Muslim population, Jharkhand has a 14% Muslim population while Tamil Nadu only houses 6% Muslims. The politicians in these states want to ban a movie for the fear of losing their “Gaddi”, which is propped up with the help of Muslim votes.
Contrarily, the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with Muslim populations of 6.6% and 19% respectively, have made the film tax-free. These states have BJP governments and are unafraid of any unrest in the name of this movie. The politicians in the state firmly believe in their strengths to stay in power. They do not appeal to or appease anyone in their bid to run the state.
Why watch “The Kerala Story”?
The easiest way to hurt a film is by denying it viewership as a government. The moral way to hurt a film is by denying it patronage as an audience member. However, the Indian politicians are taking the cowards route by accusing the movie to be a false narrative of Kerala. Currently, the true victims of “Love Jihad ” support the movie. Moreover, the women in Kerala, who have stared at Islamic conversion in the face, publicly verify the accuracy of the movie. Therefore, the politicians should let the audience decide the worth of this movie. If the movie does not deliver quality content, it will be a flop. If the common people believe in the film’s narrative, the movie will be a huge success. Let time and viewers be the judge of the success of “The Kerala Story”.