Chetan's personal remarks on The Kerala Story controversy attracted strong responses from fellow social media users, with a majority unwilling to accept his stance.
Sudipto Sen's The Kerala Story continues to remain in the news for reasons concerning its controversial subject matter. The Hindi film, which claims to have been inspired by multiple real-life incidents, narrates the story of four women in North Kerala who convert to Islam and join the militant group ISIS. The first teaser of the film was released a couple of months ago and had almost immediately drawn criticism from several corners for its alleged misrepresentation of both the Islamic community and the state of Kerala.
Since then, several political parties have come forward to demand a ban on the release or screening of the multilingual film, which is set to release in theatres on May 5. Adah Sharma leads the film along with Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, Siddhi Idnan and others with Vipul Amrutlal Shah producing it.
"Freedom of Expression is must"
In this vein, Kannada actor and activist Chetan Kumar has shared his opinion on the ongoing row and expressed that while he does not himself condone the demonization of communities/genders in cinema, a state should not be banning a film.
"Controversial film ‘The Kerala Story’ will hit screens on May 5. While I have refused to act in movies that demonise community/gender in past, I don’t believe a state shud ban a cinema—that has received censor board permission—on ideological grounds. Freedom of expression is must," wrote Chetan Kumar in his recent social media post.
For obvious reasons, Chetan's personal remarks on The Kerala Story controversy attracted strong responses from fellow social media users, with a majority unwilling accept his stance. "Freedom of expression doesn't mean freedom to lie. It's about time we all understand that," wrote one such user, echoing the sentiments of those who feel that the upcoming film is proliferating lies and intentionally maligning a community and also a regional state like Kerala.
What is The Kerala Story all about?
Standing in firm defence of his film, producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah recently disclosed that The Kerala Story draws inspiration from countless incidents of innocent girls who are first recruited to the militant organization. The film follows the lives of three such individuals who are "manipulated" into conversion to Islam, obligated to join ISIS and eventually sentenced to jail. The teaser of the film claims that as many as 32,000 girls from the Hindu and Christian communities have been subjected to this process so far.