Uttar Pradesh declares ‘The Kerala Story’ tax-free after Bengal’s ban move
Written by Sanjay Kumar
The Kerala Story
2023 ‧ Drama ‧ 2h 18m
- Release date: 5 May 2023 (India)
- Director: Sudipto Sen
- Budget: est. INR 40 crore
- Language: Hindi
- Music by: Viresh Sreevalsa; Bishakh Jyoti
- Produced by: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
The controversial film, The Kerala Story, which claims to depict the stories of three women who were radicalized into joining the terrorist group ISIS, has sparked a sharp division in public opinion and has led to contrasting responses from state governments.
On May 8, the Yogi Adityanath-led government announced that the movie will be made tax-free in Uttar Pradesh. This decision came one day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the film will be banned in the state to avoid any potential unrest.
In a tweet, Chief Minister Adityanath declared, “‘The Kerala Story’ to be made tax-free in Uttar Pradesh.” The Chief Minister is expected to watch the movie with his cabinet colleagues at a special screening.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered an immediate ban on the screening of the film in her state, stating that she wanted to prevent any incidents of hatred and violence.
West Bengal became the first state to ban The Kerala Story. Union Minister Anurag Thakur expressed confusion over the decision and questioned why the TMC chief’s sympathies were with terrorist organizations instead of the innocent girls from Kerala. Thakur also watched the film at a cinema hall in Delhi. On the other hand, UP Deputy CM Brajesh Pathak lauded the decision to make the movie tax-free in Uttar Pradesh, saying that this is a great way to educate the people of UP about the plight of the women portrayed in the film.
The film’s producer, Vipul Shah, stated that his team would take legal action against the ban imposed by the TMC government.
A West Bengal government official informed PTI that the Chief Minister had directed an immediate ban on the screening of the film to prevent any incidents of hatred and violence, and action would be taken against any cinema hall that violated the ban.
Meanwhile, the Madhya Pradesh government declared The Kerala Story tax-free in the state on May 6.
About The Kerala Story
Directed by Sudipto Sen and produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, The Kerala Story is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language film that depicts a group of women from Kerala who converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, the film has drawn controversy for making false claims about the conversion of thousands of women from Kerala into Islam and their recruitment into ISIS.
Plot: After converting to Islam, Fatima Ba’s dream of becoming a nurse turned into a harrowing journey. She was abducted from her home and forced to comply with extremist groups. Eventually, she was coerced into joining ISIS, which led to her imprisonment in Afghanistan.
- Adah Sharma as Shalini Unnikrishnan / Fatima Ba
- Yogita Bihani as Nimah
- Sonia Balani as Asifa
- Siddhi Idnani as Geetanjali
- Devadarshini as Shalini’s mother
- Vijay Krishna
- Pranay Pachauri
- Pranav Misshra
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