‘The Kerala Story’ Review: Burning, Bold and Shocking truth
The Kerala Story Review
Burning Bold Review _ Double bold
Cast: Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, Siddhi Idnani, Devadarshini, Vijay Krishna, Pranay Pachauri, Pranav Misshra etc
Editing: Sanjay Sharma
Music: Viresh Sreevalsa, Bisakh Jyoti
Producer: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Director: Sudipto Sen
Release Date: 5 May 2023
The film ‘The Kashmir Files’ created sensation at the national box office in 2022 and now ‘The Kerala Story’ have grabbed headlines. The film is controversial and sensitive in nature, and the trailer alone has sent shivers down the spines of many. Hats off to the director to bluntly show the mirror to society and so called fake intellectuals. The film is a tight slap to all groups who did not say when two wrong on the name of secularism. Some section of society is saying that his film is against a section of people, but in reality it will only show what happening in India at today time.
It was believed that the film would never see the light of day, but it was eventually released. It was screened in several theaters with police protection to prevent any unforeseen circumstances.
The radicalization and trafficking of innocent girls to create terror is a story waiting to be told. But the way director Sudipto Sen tells The Kerala Story after years of research, it is more burdensome than a serious portrayal of the problem. Like a companion piece The Kashmir Files, the film maintains a divisive tone and the gaze is emotionally exploitative. Like the fanatics of the film, it seems the makers are keen on turning the audience into haters and expressing themselves in the society.
Said to be based on true stories of how innocent non-Muslim girls are recruited for the Islamic State, it follows three nursing students in Kerala who are brainwashed by an extremist group into thinking they are Their God is not good and only Islam can be good. Guiding Light. Lured by love and unbalanced logic, the girls are drawn into a nefarious game where they become fodder in an alleged clash of civilizations.
Story: The Kerala Story Review
Shalini or Fatima Ba (Adah Sharma) is a girl who is converted and sent to Syria with her husband to fight for the Islamic State. Captured and imprisoned in Afghanistan, she tells her story in flashback where she and two of her classmates Geetanjali (Siddhi Idnani) and Nimah (Yogita Bihani) are enticed to join the mission by another classmate Asifa (Sonia Balani) Was. While Shalani succumbed to her injuries, the other two had to bear the brunt of resisting the sinister plot. The story revolves around Shalini Unnikrishnan (Adah Sharma), Nima (Yogita Bihani), and Siddhi Idnani (Geetanjali) who share their room with Asifa (Sonia Balani) at a nursing college in Kasaragod, Kerala.
The other three are unaware that Asifa is an ISIS affiliate and that her mission is to indoctrinate and brainwash non-Muslim girls and convert them to Islam. She engages two Muslim youths who pretend to be college students and get close to Shalini and Gitanjali as part of a love jihad ploy.
In the process, Shalini becomes pregnant with Rameez, who turns out to be a medical college student. In order to marry her, he demands that she convert to Islam, but she turns him down. Another man named Ishaq enters the scene and marries Fatima after beheading and renaming her. The mission is to take her to Syria as a sex slave. The difficulties faced by him and the plight of Gitanjali and Nimah at the hands of Muslim Jihadis form the rest of the story.
Artist Performance: The Kerala Story Review
Adah Sharma’s performance as Shalini Unnikrishnan is award winning. She maintained her Hindi and English diction that befits an innocent Keralite, and followed acting in her own way. Siddhi as Geetanjali was perfect, and Sonia as Asifa excelled in a dual-colour performance. Yogita Bihani had some good roles in the last act of the film. Devadarshini appeared as Adah’s mother and some of her scenes are notable. Vijay Krishna, Pranav Mishra and Pranay Pachauri play their part in menacing roles.
Technical Excellence: The Kerala Story Review
The locations and cinematography of the film were commendable and deserve praise. The editing was crisp, and the back-and-forth narration kept the film engaging. The production values were adequate. Music and lyrics deserve maximum marks as every line makes sense and sounds catchy. The background score was also impressive.
Main characteristics: The Kerala Story Review
music and lyrics
Drawbacks: The Kerala Story Review
Lots of violence and rape
Analysis: The Kerala Story Review
This film is not for all the communities of India. In theatres, only a particular community came in majority, evident through their unanimous claps and shouts for some partisan dialogues. This is the boldest effort since ‘The Kashmir Files’. According to the end credits, the film seeks to address the 32,000 non-Muslim Indian girls from Kerala who were brainwashed, converted, impregnated, sent to terror camps, raped and killed by ISIS in Syria and Afghanistan. Ended up as sex slaves in the camps.
While the premise demands attention and emotional investment, the treatment is guided more by local politics than by cinematic foresight. There are some poignant moments but for the most part, it’s either naive girls eager to buy publicity or sly creatures with Muslim names; There’s no voice of reason, and specifics are nowhere to be found. With so much pain on paper, a soft, subtle touch was needed for the cure, but Sen is keen to inscribe the message perfectly. However, it is nice to see the natural beauty of Kerala in a Hindi film and contrast it with the harsh landscape of Afghanistan.
Adah Sharma gives a sincere performance and captures the pain of the vulnerable Shalini, who is robbed of her innocence, but keeps her spine intact. The way she brings the Malayalam accent to her Hindi makes the character more believable. The rest indulge in an amateurish exercise where every emotion has to be worn on the sleeve. Overall, this is a story with very little thought hidden in a lot of provocation! Believing it to be a mere work of fiction, just before the end credits, the filmmakers showed several testimonials to convince the audience that this was a real event and not fiction. The real-life victims featured in the film appear on screen as characters, making the viewing experience more poignant.
Scenes involving rape, beheading, chopping off hands and violence against women make it an ‘adults only’ film. This is a film against ‘love jihad’. Many of the dialogues are related to religion and make the audience laugh and think. When her husband says that the mobile phone is haram in Sharia law, the wife asks, “When the Sharia law was written, the mobile phone had not been invented. How can it be banned?” This dialogue elicited laughter in the theatre. In order to brainwash a Christian girl, Nimah, the jihadi Asifa says, “Your God’s son was tortured and crucified, but still God could not save him. How can He save you?” When he couldn’t save his son?”
One thing needs to be emphasized here. Islam is not shown in the wrong way in the film. The makers have shown their respect towards Islam with a line in a song, “Jhooti picture dikhake mazhab hi kambakt insa badal dala” (Showing a wrong picture of religion, it is unfortunate that man has changed). But the makers did not take long to explain the real picture of Islam, as Ram Gopal Varma tried to show in the form of Nana Patekar’s long dialogue in the film 26/11 about Jihad.
Conclusion: The Kerala Story Review
For those who liked ‘The Kashmir Files’, ‘The Kerala Story’ is worth a watch. It’s made in a bold and unconventional way, and all the actors look so believable, providing a realistic feel.
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