A recent news report published on the 9th May 2023 about a threat to a crew member caught my eye. Not any crew member but a crew member of ‘The Kerala Story’, a controversial film directed by Sudipto Sen based on the true story of three women from different parts of Kerala named Merrin Jacob Pallath, Sonia Sebastian, and Nimisha Sampath who were brainwashed by their male lovers to convert to Islam through marriage proposals, influenced them to fight for the terrorist group ISIS, and eventually taken to a camp in the Islamic State of Khorana Province.
The release of the aforementioned film’s trailer gave birth to an unanticipated political outcry which was followed by its immediate ban in West Bengal for the trailer claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala were declared missing and the investigations that followed revealed their current identities to be ISIS recruits. Reacting to the vehement objections raised, the figure was withdrawn both from the trailer and the film.
Films and documentaries that contribute to social awareness, which could prevent communal wars with the flourishment of understanding between the varied communities rendering them more vigilant about criminal deeds such as the recruitment of young women into ISIS/ISIL, must be encouraged rather than banned, especially when documentaries or films like ‘Layla M’, ‘Profile’, ‘Caliphate’, etc., were received well by an international audience sparking none or very little animosity. Such films though controversial are often thought provoking leading to the desired effect which is embedding the realization that problems grow to uncontrollable proportions if procrastinated. The recently sparked controversy over ‘The Kerala Story’ has influenced a Muslim group to offer a cash reward of 10 million dollars for anyone who could provide evidence via the evidence collection centers that thousands of Hindus and Christian women were recruited into ISIS from the state, Kerala.
The disputed figure of 32,000 has not only begun the investigative process but also has compelled the police force to bring to light the film’s claim of accuracy. The protesters appear valetudinarian when pitted against the US report titled, ‘Country Reports on Terrorism 2020: India’, which has established the connection of 66 ISIS fighters to India, which in turn hints at the possibility of an increase in the number of future ISIS youth recruits from other Indian states.
Five star review for ‘The Kerala Story’, produced by Vipul Amrutlal Shah, for exposing the machinations of the terrorist group ISIS/ISIL with the intention of upsetting the balance of communal harmony prevalent in India almost always!