The Kerala Story: A Bad Movie with ‘Vicious Propaganda’

The Kerala Story…well this movie needs no introduction as it is already the talk of the town…for all the right and wrong reasons, depending on which side you stand. The movie revolves around the story of three girls who were allegedly abducted, converted to Islam and then sent to ISIS.  The “exorbitant claims” its trailer made were sure to have hit the ’emotional’ and ‘fear’ chord amongst the people, resulting in the film running with packed theatres despite the ban (s) and heavy backlash from a particular section of society. So, what exactly the film is conveying and what is right or wrong in it; I will try to unravel and discuss it in this blog.

Plot and Politics of the Movie

I said it before, and I am saying it again…EVERY movie is political. But, sometimes politics overpowers art, and the result comes out in the form of movies like ‘The Kerala Story’. In simple words, the movie revolves around the story of three girls (effectively only the protagonist). She is first brainwashed by her Muslim roommate towards Islam. She is then brought close to a boy (who is also part of the terror network) to fall in love and then become pregnant. Finally, she is converted to Islam and then trapped into being sent to ISIS. Now, once you have understood the brief story. Let me put out the lies, propaganda and politics behind it.

Firstly, as per the real story, Nimisha’s husband was a Christian person named Bexon Vincent, who had himself converted to Islam, and then the converted, radicalised, and brainwashed couple joined IS. But the movie shows a Muslim boy who was already a part of a terror group who gets close to her, makes her pregnant and then leaves, after which she marries some other Muslim. Also, the victim girl is still languishing in Afghan jail and the Indian government has REFUSED to bring them back since 2019 (I wonder why it wasn’t told once in the film).

Secondly, the extremely propagandistic and frivolous way things are shown. The girls accept the propaganda of their Muslim roommates as if she is a kid. A medical student has no idea about abortion and instead goes for religious conversion. Even after her partner dies, she agrees to marry a random Muslim man. She gets ready to go to IS, despite being given proof that she has been trapped by terrorists.

Thirdly, the movie has constantly CREATED the impression by portraying each and every Muslim person as a TERRORIST. Now, I am not at all able to digest that in a movie set in Kerala (or anywhere for that matter), the makers were not able to show even ONE Muslim as NORMAL. Starting from the roommate that starts radicalising her to the IS terrorists, each and every Muslim that one finds in the surrounding is part of the larger Islamic Terror conspiracy…that’s what the movie has actually showcased. Since this one is not a ‘Movie Blog’, I won’t get into the movie in detail — except calling it a tad poor affair — and will focus more on its claims and politics.

Will There Be The Kerala Story 2? - Rediff.com

Actor Adah Sharma in a still from ‘The Kerala Story’ movie (Photo: Rediff)

The Numbers Game

Now, the legendary makers of our movie have constantly tried to evade the question of what exactly was their “source” of making the huge claim of 32000. Director Sudipto Sen on record said that “I will reveal my source after the film is released, why should I defeat the cause of my film”. However, his statement soon changed into “Do the numbers actually matter? The 32,000 number is an arbitrary number”. And…finally, when the matter reached court, as many already know, the makers finally changed the very description of their movie from ‘32000 women to 3’.

Even when the movie reached the top court against the ban from West Bengal, the SC did revoke the ban righteously (I will talk about this in detail). But, at the same time, the apex court also found the claims made by the makers inauthentic and directed them to add disclaimers. Firstly, there is “no authentic data” to support the claim that 32000 women from Kerala were abducted, converted and sent to ISIS. Secondly, the movie is a “fictional” account of the events.

Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Sudipto Sen attend the press conference of The Kerala Story | Photogallery - ETimes

‘The Kerala Story’ makers; producer Vipul Shah and director Sudipto Sen (Photo: Times of India)

“False and Fabricated” Claims

In ‘The Kerala Story’, there is not one but many claims made, and the majority of them are misleading and taken out of context. The first of course, as I said above was about 32000 girls from Kerala being abducted, from which the makers themselves backed off later. Other than this, some overstretched data have been presented completely out of context. For example, the movie refers to former Kerala CM Ooman Chandy informing the state legislative assembly, “Between 2006 to 2012, 2667 women have converted to Islam”.  Now, this claim is used to validate the situation ‘presented’ in the film. But, just look at the statement as a standalone one, is it problematic in any way? There is no mention of the forced conversion of terror networks here.

Similarly, another statement by former CM VS Achuthandan, who during an interview had said, “Their plan is to make Kerala a Muslim state in the next 20 years”. Here again, the statement is taken out of context, the whole interview (available on YouTube) is about PFI. Achuthandan was actually criticising PFI and was referring to what ‘PFI’ aims for and is not making a prediction or something. Also, I have said this before, I have absolutely zero sympathy for radical outfits like PFI and… I hope they bloody rot in hell. But, again, the maker’s claims are false.

We believe in Qadr. Whatever happened was already decided by Allah: Indian widows of Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists? big revelation over forced religious conversion in Kerala (Video)

Nimisha alias Fathima; the girl on whom the movie is stated to have been made (Photo: Organiser)

Looking at some ‘Actual’ Numbers

Radical Islamic terror organisations work all around the world to recruit more people by brainwashing them. This is basically a worldwide phenomenon. As per several international studies and reports, the number of people across the world who have gone to Iraq and Syria is more than 40,000. Now, looking at the country-wise breakdown, we find that 7,000 people have joined ISIS from the Soviet Republic, 17,000 from France, 760 from Germany, around 700 from the UK and…66 from India! Yes, that’s it.

This ’66’ number is from the US Bureau of Counter Terrorism, which in its 2020 report, had stated the number of “Indian-origin fighters” to be ’66’. Out of that, 13 are female and 6 are from Kerala, including Nimisha alias Fathima. A very noteworthy point here is that India’s number is ‘much smaller’ in comparison to other big countries. This is despite the fact, that India’s high population, and India’s high ‘Muslim’ population (third largest Muslim population actually). So, even after all this, if India’s number is so significantly low, isn’t it a remarkable point? Well for some sick minds…it isn’t.

Also, it would be good if we look at some numbers of Indian security agencies too. The NIA in its 2016 chargesheet mentioned that 20 people had gone to Afghanistan for joining ISIS. By September 2020, NIA had arrested “160 people in 34 terrorism cases” in connection to ISIS. Even the Home Ministry in 2019, informed that a total of 155 people have been arrested in India with links to ISIS. Sadly, here as well nothing is even near to the exaggerated claims of the makers.

Regarding Love Jihad, the “darling hashtag” of today — Home Ministry in 2020, informed the Parliament that “No Case of Love Jihad has been found in Kerala”. Leave ‘Love Jihad’, even if we simply look at religious conversions, 47 per cent of the conversions, as per government data have happened into Hinduism only. So there is almost a balance out there. And, no one has any right to object to any conversion, as long as it is being done “willingly”. Yes, there are some missionaries, Islamic organisations and even radical Hindu outfits (under the name Ghar Wapsi) who keep on craving and aiming to convert more and more people. They should be kept under check, but broadly the situation is NOT spiralled as being claimed.

Modi's Backing of Inflammatory, Fictional 'Kerala Story' Highlights Pressing Need for Opposition Unity

PM Modi showered praises on ‘The Kerala Story’ urging people to watch it (Photo: The Wire)

The ‘BJP’ Angle

Now, some might find this a little far-fetched. But the truth is ‘Kerala’ remains a state where BJP has not even been able to set its foot, forget having a foothold. And, as is popularly known the state happens to be very secular and harmonious in nature. With mosques organising Hindu marriages, to temples, churches, and mosques being within walking distance, to people celebrating the festivals together, there are numerous examples. So, unless and until this secular fabric is attacked and some ‘communal divide’ occurs, it is a mounting task for BJP to eat into the vote banks.

And, in a state where Hindus constitute more than half the population, followed by Muslims (26%) and Christians (18%), nearly constituting the other half, the fear of ‘Love Jihad’ seems the perfect weapon to bring out the desired result. Lately, BJP has also started its outreach to the Christian community in Kerala to somehow cause a crack in the vote bank. Well…Hindu votes won’t be enough to fetch power in a state like Kerala so better join hands with Christians to corner the community you “hate” the most. Now very surprisingly, or maybe as per the “plan”, in the ‘The Kerala Story’ too the Christians are shown as the ‘victims’ along with the Hindus being oppressed by the ‘Muslims’. Well…no comments.

Watch Now | 'The Kerala Story' declared tax-free in Uttar Pradesh, banned in West Bengal

The movie received contrary responses from different political circles (Photo: Moneycontrol)

Ban and Politics

‘The Kerala Story’ has been mired in neck-deep controversy ever since the release of its teaser, trailer and film. From the Kerala CM to local MP Shashi Tharoor, to almost all major non-BJP Opposition parties came out hard against the film calling it “hate-mongering propaganda”. BJP, on the other hand, hailed its makers for “showing courage” and highlighting what others were “sceptically hiding”; it even made the movie tax-free in some of the states where it is in power. However, Mamata Banerjee went one step ahead and BANNED the movie in the state of Satyajit Ray (West Bengal). Now, this is the point, we need to draw a line at.

Whether you like or dislike a movie or whatever your opinion is about it or even if it is “propaganda”…one doesn’t have the right to put a ban on it. Yes, I am saying this even after everything I said above. As the saying goes, “I may disagree with you but I will defend till death, your right to say it”. If one talks about ‘Freedom of expression’, then your stand can’t be selective as per your ideology and preference. This is an appalling situation currently among some liberals, who even though advocate free speech, but if the ‘free speech’ doesn’t suit them, they themselves start demanding what they oppose.

A Propaganda to demonise Muslims

Well, as it is very well known, hate spreads faster than love. This phenomenon has also been witnessed again now as ‘The Kerala Story’ has already garnered over 200 crores (The Kashmir Files too did similar business). And, that’s not an issue, as I cleared above, I am all for political movies. But the main aim of this movie…which I am able to understand was to somehow make each and every woman (and also men) believe that “All Muslims are terrorists” and that they should think 100 times before falling in love with them. A huge chunk of people coming out of the cinema hall after watching the movie talking about being “scared of Muslims” went on to show that the makers were successful in their mission. So Congratulations to them!

Yes, there is a problem in Kerala. Terror groups have tried to use Kerala’s closeness with Gulf countries to propagate hate. And we should definitely continue our efforts against it. But does it mean doing propaganda and defaming a whole state? So many states incur something peculiar…so how about a ‘RAPE FILES’ from Uttar Pradesh or a ‘RIOT STORY’ from Gujarat…Good Idea huh? The actual story (that of Nimisha and other victims) could have been told in a truthful, factual and HONEST manner. But, some people value money and propaganda more than anything else. However, despite how strenuous the situation seems, with all the “evil forces” attacking the secular fabric of the country. The very fact that ‘The Kerala Story’ received the least appreciation from South India including Kerala itself, shows that HOPE, India as well as the ‘Idea’ it is based on are…ZINDA HAI.


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