The Kerala Story – Propaganda or Brilliance?

The Kerala Story movie is based on the real-life story of 32,000 women in the southern Indian state who disappeared after being lured by Muslim men and converted to Islam.

The Kerala Story movie is based on the real-life story of 32,000 women in the southern Indian state who disappeared after being lured by Muslim men and converted to Islam, then radicalized and deployed in terror missions in India and abroad for ISIS. The Kerala story cast includes Adah Sharma and Sonia Balani as leads. In addition, the film tells the story of one such victim, Sheetal Unnikrishnan (Adah Sharma), who wanted to become a nurse.

She and her three female roommates – a Hindu, a Christian, and a Muslim – are all brainwashed by Asifa (Sonia Balani), the leader of their mosque. She tells them a story about Islam’s ‘love jihad’ plot, in which non-Muslim girls and women are romanced, married, and converted to Islam.

Asifa also inculcates in them ‘hijab-phobia’ and the belief that only Muslims can save them from the evil eye of ‘kaafirs’ and other gods. These thoughts can easily be found in Kerala, a state popularly called “God’s own country” but which has been accused of having played a part in the global Muslim migrant crisis.

The Kerala Story
The Kerala Story

While the film does a fine job of highlighting the brutality that ‘love jihad’ perpetrators have carried out, its portrayal is at times exaggerated. As a result, the film’s bleak climax feels more like a harrowing tutorial on how to radicalize young people than entertainment.

The Kerala story director Sudipto Sen and producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah have defended the film, saying that it is based on true stories of women from Kerala who were abducted and trafficked by ISIS. However, some opposition politicians in the state have protested and sought legal action against the film. The Kerala State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote negatively about it on Facebook, threatening legal action against the filmmakers.

A group of Islamic activists in the Kerala state, known as the Muslim Youth League, said they would set up ‘evidence collection counters’ in 14 districts on Thursday to gather evidence against claims made by the makers of The Kerala Story that thousands of Hindu and Christian girls from the state were ‘forcibly converted’ and recruited into ISIL. They are offering a reward of 10 million rupees for information that proves the claims.\

According to Al Jazeera, the film’s producers have drawn on a conspiracy theory that the Hindu right-wing has long promoted – a so-called ‘love jihad’ plot in which girls and women from non-Muslim backgrounds are romantically attracted to Islam, then married and converted to the religion. Government investigations have dismissed these allegations, but some right-wing Hindus believe the story is just as true.

Despite the controversy, Adah Sharma’s performance in the movie was convincing, and she did an excellent job conveying ‘Fathima Ba’ to the audience. She was also ably supported by Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani in the film.

The Kerala Story teaser promised to leave a lasting impact on the audiences who watch it. So, the film is a thought-provoking piece that reflects the complex realities that many in India face, including the fact that Hindus are not as strong as they think and that there is a need for change.

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