Friday, May 12, 2023

Anupam Kher comments on the Kerala Story debate, claiming that the same individuals opposed The Kashmir Files

 Review of the movie The Kerala Story: When a movie examines various aspects of a problem, it opens the door to discussion and reflection, providing you with food for thought. What about a movie that does the exact opposite?

'The Kerala Story' comes riding on a furious debate. Sudipto Sen, the director, and Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the creative producer, insist that their film is based on the "true story of 32,000 young women" from Kerala who were held captive in ISIS camps on the border of Afghanistan, Turkey, and Syria after being converted to Islam. The film has been criticized as nothing more than a collection of blatant lies and compared to hate speech by those who have been vocally protesting, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

This number of "32,000," which was mentioned in the trailer for the movie, has been reduced to 3. Everything changes as a result: It is a gross misrepresentation to extrapolate its sweeping claim from such a small figure, as the makers have practically admitted that their initial figure was greatly exaggerated.

The film itself is nothing more than a rant that is poorly made and poorly performed and has no interest in examining the social complexities of Kerala, a state in India that is proud of its multi-ethnic, multi-religious identity. The only goal is to create the simplest, thinnest characters possible to tell us that innocent Hindu and Christian girls in Kerala are being influenced by evil Muslim men and radicalized to the point of no return, putting the state in danger.

Excited Shalini Unnikrishnan (Adah Sharma) gets up at a nursing school in Kasargod. One of her roommates is Hindu, another is Christian, and the third is Muslim—a mix that is common in Kerala. Asifa, played by Sonia Balani, begins her mission to brainwash the other three right away: young ladies who wear the hijab are protected from according to men; different divine beings are feeble; furthermore, no one but Allah can save the 'kaafirs' who will in any case need to confront (dozakh) damnation and punishment. Asifa has quickly ensnared Shalini, Nimah (Yogita Bihani), and Geetanjali (Siddhi Idnani) with charming young men whose job it is to ensnare and conceive young women who are unaware of their existence.

An attempt to comprehend how presumably educated young women can become so enamored of an ideology that is so opposed to what they have grown up believing (or not: Kerala has always proudly had the highest literacy rates in the country. One of them is an atheist) would have added welcome depth to "The Kerala Story." However, that is not the kind of movie that this is, with lines like "poore Kerala ko time bomb ke oopar rakha gaya hai;" The entire state of Kerala has been placed on a time bomb, according to the former deputy CM, "ne kahaa hai ki agle bees saal mein Kerala Islamic state ban jayega." The former deputy chief minister has stated that Kerala will become an Islamic state within the next twenty years. It would appear that no one has determined whether the person being referred to actually ever said this, or whether it has been twisted out of context.

Every one of the Muslim figures in the film are dim and threatening, and 'love jihad' is their weapon of decision. When Shalini, who plays Fathima Ba and is played by Adah, who is a competent actor, learns that she is pregnant, she immediately behaves as if it is the end of the world: She is studying to be a nurse; in this day and age, have medical terminations ever occurred? She is thrown into a group of women who are condemned to be "sex-slaves or suicide bombers" during her journey from Kerala to Sri Lanka to the ISIS camps where the Taliban rule. Her journey is filled with the most gruesome images, including men, women, and animals being hacked to pieces.

Nobody can argue that the terrible things that the handful of real-life women from Kerala went through or the women from other parts of the world who were brutalized by the Taliban never happened. However, it is patently false to assert that it is the definitive "Kerala Story" of its 32,000 women.

You wonder why those who want to create effective propaganda have not learned the techniques from the master, Leni Riefenstahl, after being battered by a barrage of bad Muslims who are completing the job Aurangzeb left hanging (not kidding, this is an actual line in the film) and listening to jibes at "Communists." To some degree then we would have been something to check out.

When a movie examines various aspects of a problem, it opens the door to discussion and reflection, providing you with food for thought. What about a movie that does the exact opposite? You get to choose what you want from your movie as a viewer.

Review of the movie The Kerala Story: Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, Sonia Balani

The Kerala Story film chief: Rating for Sudipto Sen's The Kerala Story: 1 star

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