Here’s The Real Story of Movie: The Kerala Story

Sudipto Sen’s The Kerala Story has made headlines ever since the film’s teaser was released in November 2022. And upon its release on May 5, the film is set to become one of the highest grossing movies of the year on one hand while also being bashed as communal propaganda by several critics. Earlier, the Kerala High Court refused a petition to ban the movie, noting that ‘it was inspired by true events.’ The movie had also been banned in West Bengal, citing a threat to peace before the Supreme Court uplifted it.

However, amidst all the noise and online debates, we tell you about the real story and events that have inspired this movie.

What is the Real Story of The Kerala Story Movie?

The Kerala Story follows the story of Shalini – a nursing student from Kerala who is manipulated into religious conversion after falling in love with a Muslim guy and then reaches Syria accompanying her husband – an ISIS fighter. She eventually lands up in a jail in Afghanistan, where she narrates her ordeal while waiting for her return home.

Several media reports have revealed that ISIS has been able to recruit fighters from Kerala. A 2019 study on ISIS recruitment in India by the Observer Research Foundation shows around 150+ pro-ISIS cases in India, the majority from Kerala. As per media reports  at least 4 women from Kasargod in Northern Kerala who joined the Islamic State with their husbands. The women surrendered with their children after their husbands died fighting and have been lodged in a prison in Kabul ever since. In an interview with The National, one of these women revealed that she was a Catholic who had converted before marrying her husband, who took her to an ISIS settlement in the Wazir district of Afghanistan. 

There’s another news story about another woman in prison – Nimisha, who converted to Islam and changed their name to Fathima before joining ISIS with her husband. The Indian Government has refused to make efforts to bring these women back to India, citing security concerns.

While the events that have inspired this movie are accurate, the claim of 32000 girls from Kerala being converted to Islam and recruited to ISIS seems to be an over-exaggeration. A text on the movie’s YouTube trailer that mentioned about 32,000 missing women from Kerala was changed to 3 a few days back. The Supreme Court also directed the filmmakers to add a disclaimer at the end of the movie mentioning that there was no authentic data to back up the figure of 32,000 girls and that the movie represents the subject matter in a fictionalized manner.

How can I watch The Kerala Story?

The Kerala Story movie was released on May 5, 2023, in theatres nationwide. You can watch The Kerala Story in theatres near you. The film is also slated to launch on Zee5 shortly. However, the exact date is not known.

What is the total collection of The Kerala Story?

The Kerala Story hit a record collection of 166 Crore within days of its release. It has become the second highest-grossing film of 2023. In fact, if we believe the trade analysts, the film will soon cross the 300 Crore mark and break the record of Kashmir files, another controversial yet bold film on the subject of a mass exodus of Kashmiri Brahmins from Kashmir.

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