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The Kerala Story: 6 films that courted controversy

Sudipto Sen’s controversial The Kerala Story releases on ZEE5 this week

The Kerala Story: 6 films that courted controversy

List hai toh hit hai 

Last Updated: 03.14 PM, Feb 27, 2024


Sudipto Sen’s controversial The Kerala Story releases on ZEE5 this week. The divisive film was initially marketed as a true story about 30,000 women forced to convert to Islam to join the militia group known as the Islamic State. However, the Supreme Court asked the filmmakers to add a disclaimer to highlight the fact the story is a work of fiction and that the information marketed was wildly inaccurate. As per official data, 100-200 women have joined the Islamic State from India, and the women from Kerala make up less than a quarter of this figure. The film has therefore come under intense scrutiny for its alleged attempts to malign communities. So for today’s List Hai Toh Hit Hai podcast, we take a look at six films that courted controversy.


The Kashmir Files

The 2022 film The Kashmir Files, helmed by controversial filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri, focuses on the untold stories of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir Valley in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The film has faced criticism for allegedly exploiting the plight of those who suffered during the exodus as a tool to ostracise and vilify other communities in the Kashmir valley. The film stars Anupam Kher, Pallavi Joshi, and Darshan Kumar in lead roles.

Sound of Freedom

Alejandro Monteverde’s 2023 film stars Person of Interest and Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel in the lead role. The film allegedly tells the true story of Tim Ballard, a former U.S. government agent, and his mission to rescue children from human trafficking. Even though the film’s plot revolves around a critical global issue, it has received criticism for stoking QAnon conspiracy theories through its narrative. The criticism gained momentum after it was revealed that both the film’s director and its lead star have reportedly made public statements supporting the QAnon conspiracy theories.

The Accidental Prime Minister

Based on the memoir of the same name by Sanjaya Baru, The Accidental Prime Minister is a 2019 film that chronicles the tenure of former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. Directed by Vijay Gutte, the film faced backlash for its alleged political bias, portraying Singh in a negative light during his time in office. The film offers a dramatised account of political decisions and behind-the-scenes dynamics within the government.

Left Right Left

Left Right Left, the 2013 Malayalam film directed by Arun Kumar Aravind,  explores the socio-political landscape of Kerala through the lives of three friends with contrasting ideologies. The film delves into the complexities of leftist politics and its impact on personal relationships, and it attempts to provide an insight into the political discourse in Kerala. The film courted controversy for its alleged depiction of real politicians, including the current Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan. It stars Murali Gopy, Indrajith Sukumaran, Hareesh Peradi, Lena Kumar, and Remya Nambeesan in prominent roles.


Abhijit Panse’s 2019 biographical drama tells the story of Bal Thackeray, the founder of the pro-Marathi political party the Shiv Sena. The film raised eyebrows for its partisan storytelling glorifying the achievements of a controversial political figure. The film also emphasises Thackeray’s charismatic leadership and controversial decisions. Acclaimed Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the lead role while Amrita Rao plays the role of Thackeray’s wife Meena.


Directed by Tony D’Souza, Azhar, is a 2016 biographical sports drama based on the life of former disgraced Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin. The film was criticised for its attempts to allegedly whitewash Azharuddin’s involvement in the match-fixing scandal. The film stars Emraan Hashmi in the lead role as the titular character while Nagris Fakhri, Prachi Desai, and Lara Dutta play other pivotal roles.

Well that's all for this episode, until the next one it's your host Nikhil signing out.

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Written by Ryan Gomez

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