‘The Kerala Story’ – A flawed narrative by an uninformed filmmaker

The Kerala Story

Sudipto Sen, Director of ‘The Kerala Story”, in his unrestricted arrogance and egotism, claims that his film has “awakened civilization”. This claim is erroneous to its very core! How can a film whose issues must address root questions of colonialism, and plunder by the West be assigned in the hands of an un-researched propagandist. The film is virtually a hotchpotch attempt to bring disrepute to Indian Muslims –  an Islamophobic misadventure. Sen has produced his film without even an elementary sense of facts, context, and history, and, not even, a modicum of objectivity.

Sen defines cinema as an “extremely powerful tool for social change” and subtly brackets his film in that category. The Kerala Story will only bring social dissections. Sen will profit from his investment, get rich and famous and hope for an award which he will never come close to deserving. In Goa, CM Sawant urged families with children to view the film together not realizing that the Censor Board had it classified as ‘A’-rated. Other CMs in BJP-governed States gave the movie tax-free status. This is communal politics at outrageous levels by BJP’s ruling dispensations.

Sen fails to project how the West, Americans in particular, obliquely created the ISIS who recruited young men and women, especially from disadvantaged sections to seek an escape from unkind life conditions, especially economic. After all, ISIS coincides with a geo-political agenda beginning with the illegal invasion of Iraq that resulted in the killing of Saddam Hussein, then invading Libya and murdering Gaddaffi, then wreaking chaos on Syria, killing tens and thousands and rendering many more homeless till today. In Afghanistan, the US-sponsored Jihadis ran out of money and their military strategy to combat the Taliban went awry. So, they scooted and, as a last resort, encouraged the Jihadists to grow drugs and sell them in exchange for money and armaments. The US stooped lower than any kind of political ethics permits. In one swoop, the US created a market for weapons to be sold to the Jihadists bringing gains to the Military-Industrial-Complex, and that same weapon is simultaneously destroying the lives of those who trade and consume drugs. It would have been astute for Sen to study the history of such US imperialistic tactics and set his film in an honest and informed context, rather than fictionalize truth and use discounted sensationalism. As it turns out, he came out with a poor story line, an exaggerated and disconnected plot, and a below par production.

Sen did not produce art of any sort. It may be true that 1.5 -2 crore people watched the film. When you combine a lethal cocktail of startling exaggeration, with reinforced communal antagonism, and weaponized hate, there will be a ready clientele to watch the propaganda and believe it without any clue of the facts behind the story. Sen has created one downbeat catastrophe – a wider and enhanced antagonism for the Muslim and destroyed possibilities for a unified, India.

Sen sought to use a dishonest gimmick in the teaser to his film. He claimed that 32000 girls in Kerala converted into Islam as victims of love jihad and were later recruited into the ISIS. Challenged in court, the number went down to a measly six. How can one claim to awaken society with Sen’s attempt to indulge in preposterous fabrication? The scenes that depict the conversion of the girls in the film are superficial and a very poor depiction of Sen’s intent. Sen had meager film-making standards by all accounts.

To draw a truthful contrast, there is police data that 383 girls and women have gone missing from Mumbai in just three months. The Maharashtra Women’s Commission demands a search and investigation on this. Further, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data asserts that 41,321 women went ‘missing’ in Gujarat between 2016 and 2020 in a span of five years. Some people conjecture that there might have been caste aggression. The BJP government in Gujarat and the state police have acted to demystify the report as ‘half-truths’ and clarified that 39,497 of the missing women had already reunited with their families. So, why did they go missing in the first place? The alarm button is now rusted. Even women’s movements seem disinterested in this toxic calamity.

This is not ‘love jihad’ but girls from depressed castes fleeing caste-oppression and choosing inter-caste love marriage. Under-age girls elope with partners and return after completing 18 to legally marry. Police offer flimsy excuses such as women getting lost in teeming ‘melas’ and temples. The police also debunk facts about human trafficking and expediently blame it on interstate gangs, who force women into labour or sex trade. In a deeply caste-ridden society, a girl falls in love at the first sign of affection. The ‘honey-moon’ phase passes on and they are later dumped as targets for abuse and trafficking.

Sen couldn’t care less about all this. He is patting his own back and laughing his way to the bank day after day. Why won’t’ Sen and his ilk take up themes of truth and social mishaps for their films rather than weaponize hate-through-film and term it ‘art’? The Kerala Story and Kashmir files are films that spell danger to social harmony The Kashmir files triggered chants of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in theatres. Theatres which screened ‘The Kerala Story’ in Goa had right wing Hindutva groups insist they be allowed to carry saffron flags into theatres. When refused permission, they stood outside the theatre and disrupted public peace by raising slogans. Watching this happen, a woman who accompanied me to the film watched in awe and asked: ‘Won’t all this lead to hate and violence? “

The censor board must be scrutinized for their motives behind approving the film. The other misfortune is the silence of the mainstream media which should normally be opinion makers. There was not a single critical review. Indeed, India is bleeding!

Ranjan Solomon is a political commentator

Support Countercurrents

Countercurrents is answerable only to our readers. Support honest journalism because we have no PLANET B.
Become a Patron at Patreon

Join Our Newsletter


Join our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Get CounterCurrents updates on our WhatsApp and Telegram Channels

Related Posts

Join Our Newsletter

Annual Subscription

Join Countercurrents Annual Fund Raising Campaign and help us

Latest News