Director: Sudipto Sen
Genre: Hindi, Drama
Time: 2 hours 14 minutes
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Director Sudipto Sen’s ‘The Kerala Story’ has been released in theaters amid ongoing controversies. Due to the controversy, the makers had to change the trailer of the film as well. As you can see, making films based on true events has always attracted filmmakers, but when a maker brings a true story to the screen, his responsibility increases. A fictional story gives cinematic freedom, but true story films require attention to detail. The story of the film revolves around the supposed conversion of Hindu girls and the fanaticism of Islam. The film claims to be a true story of three young girls from Kerala.
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The story of ‘The Kerala Story’
The story begins with Fatima aka Shalina Unnikrishnan, (Ada Sharma), surrounded by investigating officers, who pours out her pain saying ‘before I joined ISIS, I need to know why and how’. Later, the bank story begins where four students take admission in a nursing school in Kasaragod, Kerala, with Shalini becoming close friends sharing a room with her roommates Geetanjali (Siddhi Idnani), Nimah (Yogita Bihani) and Asifa (Sonia Balani). Shalini, Geetanjali and Nimah are completely unaware of Asifa’s sinister intentions.
What is the real thing?
Asifa has a secret agenda to convert her roommates to Islam by taking them away from their family and religion. For this he takes the help of his two fake brothers and lays a trap so that the girls become fanatics. They are drugged to brainwash them, instill hatred towards family and mistrust of religion. Not only this, Ramiz, who lures Shalini into his love, makes her pregnant. Fearing the society, Shalini converts to Islam, marries an unknown man, leaves India and flees to Syria via Pakistan and Afghanistan. The journey ahead proves more terrifying for Shalini, on the other hand in India her two friends Gitanjali and Nimah also have to go through hell.
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There was not so much emphasis on the serious issue
As a director, Sudipto Sen has managed to create fear through his characters. But the characters are completely black and white. Brainwashing the youth into terrorism is a serious issue, but its projection in the film is misguided. The process of brainwashing the girls in the film looks childish. The way Asifa and her partner flirt with the graduating girls, it doesn’t sit well in the mind. Scenes like Gitanjali spitting on her father in a hospital bed, Syria after Shalini learns the truth in Colombo are not digestible. The violent and rape scenes in the film will shake you from the inside. Some dialogues that may hurt religious sentiments. The editing of the film could have been a little better. From Kerala to Afghanistan, Prashantanu Mohapatra’s cinematography is beautifully showcased.
Where is the deficiency?
In terms of acting, Ada Sharma as Shalini, on the one hand, exudes innocence, on the other hand, as Fatima, she has shown fear, anger and pain. Adah’s work in the film is commendable. As sisters, Yogita Bihani and Siddhi Idnani have done justice to their roles. But the characters lack depth. The supporting cast is okay.
Fans of movies based on disturbing true events can watch this movie.