Days after Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government imposed a ban on ‘The Kerala Story’ film, citing “peace and harmony”, the Bharatiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha on Thursday staged protests outside a multiplex here in the city.
The protestors demanded the State government to withdraw its order and lift the state-wide ban.
Purnima Chakrabarty, BJP leader, spearheading the protests, said, “We salute the efforts of Sudipto Sen, who presented the true story of Kerala in front of billions of Indians. But, the State government don’t want this.”
“We condemn the decision of Mamata Banerjee government of imposing a state-wide ban on such a film,” she told ANI.
The West Bengal government in a notification on Monday said that the movie ‘The Kerala Story’ is “likely to cause a breach of peace” and that it has prohibited the screening of the film to avoid “any incident of hatred or violence to maintain law and order in the state”.
West Bengal was the first state to ban the film, which narrates the ordeal of three women who are trafficked to ISIS camps after being converted to Islam through marriage.
On the decision to ban the film, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “It is to avoid any incident of hatred and violence, and maintain peace in the state.”
Also raking up the ‘Kashmir Files’, a film on the alleged genocide of Kashmiri Pandits, which ran to packed houses despite evoking protests from the Opposition, the Bengal CM said, “What was ‘The Kashmir Files’? It was meant purely to humiliate a particular section of society. What is ‘The Kerala Story’? It is a distorted story.”
The CM directed the state chief secretary to remove the movie from all theatres where it is being screened.
Reacting to the ban, Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the producer of the film, said they will pursue legal options against the decision.
“If state government won’t listen to us, we will explore legal avenues. However, whatever course we take will be based on legal advice,” Shah told ANI.
Helmed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, the film evoked sharp opposition from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who called it “RSS propaganda”. Congress MP from Kerala, Shashi Tharoor accused the makers of “misrepresenting” Kerala.
Campaigning for the BJP in poll-bound Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, weighed in on the controversy, accusing the Congress of standing with terrorists.
‘The Kerala Story’ stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani and Sonia Balani in lead roles.
A massive controversy erupted around the film after its trailer claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had gone missing and joined the terrorist group ISIS. However, in the face of protests, the contentious figure in the trailer was later withdrawn.
Its trailer description was later changed to a story of three women from Kerala.
This report is filed by ANI news service.