The Kerala Story takes the viewer through an alleged real incident which isn’t set in history but occurs as you read this review. The Kerala Story talks about the love traps thrown at Christian and Hindu women of Kerala by Islamists linked to dangerous organisations like ISIS through a local intermediary, Sen has preferred to not mention.
The film takes you down a chronological breakdown of how the characters come to a new college and their Islamist roommate then takes them on a not-so-rosy voyage of conversions, threats, and forceful jihad. The story is a great reminder of the ramifications of perpetual silence to powerful lies and ignorant passivism to one’s identity. None of the girls came out of the trap whether they complied throughout, refused in the very beginning or those who were no longer scared of Islamist threats made to make them another manufacture to Syria.
The film portrays the Hindu women falling into the theological brain-washing more so than the Christian girl suggesting the lack of religious education imparted in Hindu households causing the modern-day generation to stray away from that identity and find themselves reading about their Gods in pseudo-academic books or intimidating conversion speeches.
The movie portrays an important issue, however the dialogue-writing required for a film as strong in some places yet soft in others was missing thereby evoking watcher’s feelings only half-way. While the lead roles of Shalini Unnikrishnan played by Adah Sharma, Nimah Mattews by Yogita Bihani and Geetanjali by Siddhi Idnani are compelling, engaging and the Malayalam accent in Hindi is a great touch, the antagonists stayed true to their gory, bloody, and merciless characters. The film gave the audiences an opportunity to listen to Sunidhi Chauhan again which facilitated the ‘vibe’ of the film however, some sharp and loud sound effects neither made the case for the film nor were too kind to the ears. The cinematography was simplistic which allowed the content to be the star.
Overall, the film is a one-time watch, curiosity generator and a treat for those who find intrigue in human rights violations. It is also good for youngsters seeking education toward what Sudipto Sen, the director, calls Love Jihad on Twitter. The public view of the 300 Crore returns film has varied views in both quality as well as magnitude. The dismay expressed by the straight forwardness of the film caused it to be banned in West Bengal which was later lifted by the Supreme Court whereas some states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh made the film tax free. Calling out the film to be banned was supported by many in the industry like Nawazuddin Siddique but some opposed this demand like Shabana Azmi and Kangana Ranaut.
The film is A rated and rightly so, as the director hasn’t held back on showing the gruesome violence, sexual assault and other obscenities that constitute a major chunk of these victims’ lives, hence viewer discretion is advised.