The Kerala Story Review
The Kerala Story is an Indian drama film in the Hindi language directed by Sudipto Sen. It is a 2023 film produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah. Adah Sharma is the lead actor, and the movie focuses on her character more. Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani are also the lead actors in the movie. The story revolves around a bunch of women from Kerala who are compelled to convert to Islam and join the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria. The movie, which is marketed as an actual story, is based on the theory of "love jihad." It makes the claim that hundreds and thousands of Hindu women from Kerala were converted to Islam and were recruited by ISIS.
On May 5, 2023, The Kerala Story made its theatrical debut. It swiftly managed to become the second-highest-grossing Hindi film of the year. The movie was released in four different languages, i.e., Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi. The movie was heavily promoted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is presently in power and was used as an instrument in their campaign for the Karnataka assembly election. However, it mainly received bad reviews from critics who referred to it as Islamophobic propaganda, i.e., promoting hatred or prejudgment against the religion of Islam or the Muslim community. The movie also experienced lengthy court proceedings and protests, mostly in Kerala, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.
The Plot of the Movie
The Kerala Story showcases the stories of three young women from different parts of Kerala, mainly focusing on the story of Shalini Unnikrishnan, a woman who converted to Islam. It describes how she tried to pursue a career as a nurse but was compelled to convert to Islam by diehard Muslims at her college and her roommate, who appeared to be her friend. She was eventually manipulated to join ISIS by her friend, who took advantage of her condition and ended up imprisoned in Afghanistan.
Main Characters of the Movie
The "The Kerala Story" starts in an interrogation room while imprisoned in Afghanistan. Shalini describes her brutal and awful past and the circumstances behind her present situation. She recalls how another classmate, Asifa, convinced her and her two roommates, Geetanjali and Nimah, to join the mission. Her past revolves around four college students from Kasargauda who were enrolled in a Nursing School in Kerala. The movie is narrated from Shalini's point of view, who has a close relationship with her roommates Gitanjali, Nimah, and Asifa. One fact about Asifa was unknown to the other roommates; Asifa and her male companions had a secret plan to convert her roommates to Islam. She ensures that the girls are converted and brainwashed into the religion using drugs that cause hallucinations with the help of the men in her group. When Shalini becomes pregnant, she is forced to marry someone other than the man who caused her to get pregnant. Then she takes off on an extended journey to Syria via Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The director of the film has thoughtfully designed the scenes in the movie that cause viewers to feel naturally uncomfortable. Adah Sharma gives a strong and captivating performance in her portrayal of Shalini and Fatima after converting to Islam. The movie sometimes seems more like an instruction on religious conversion. It doesn't seem to be something the audience would find entertaining. Additionally, it goes to great lengths to prove its point and specify the objective, which may disturb viewers from various communities in our country.
According to the producers, The Kerala Story was allegedly based on years of investigation and actual events.
After years of investigation, director Sudipto Sen's portrayal of The Kerala Story is more absurd than an accurate representation of the issue. The Kashmir Files, another controversial film that became one of last year's biggest hits from Bollywood, has been compared to The Kerala Story. The film maintains a controversial tone, and its focus is emotionally invasive, as it directly triggers the emotions of the viewers. It seems that the makers of the movie tried to touch some sensitive incidents in our society in their own way. This terrifying and thought-provoking movie leaves an impression without any doubt.