The Kerala Story Movie
The Kerala Story Movie is a 2023 Hindi-language movie that was produced and directed by Sudipto Sen. Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani are the film’s stars. The plot is on a group of Keralan women who become Muslims and enlist in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The movie erroneously asserts that thousands of women from Kerala are being converted to Islam and enlisted in ISIS, in accordance with the “love jihad” conspiracy theory.
The Kerala Story is captioned as being based on a real-life incident, while the reliability of the statistics shown are not backed by any real evidence. The makers of the film have claimed that the film is the true story of an instance of “love jihad“, which a Hindutva conspiracy theory about non-Muslim women romanced and lured into marriage to convert them to Islam.
The teaser, released on 3 November 2022, featured Adah Sharma playing the character of Fathima Ba — a Hindu Malayali nurse — who had converted to Islam and joined the ISIS, before ending up in an Afghan jail. She identifies to be one of the 32,000 girls, from the Hindu and Christian communities, who are missing from Kerala and have been recruited to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) after being converted to Islam. The claimed figures are widely inaccurate, being based on mistranslations, misquotes and extrapolations from misrepresentations of unrelated statistics. The “32,000” figure was later pulled from marketing materials and revised to state that it showed the story of “3 women“, with Sen stating that “32,000 is an arbitrary figure and doesn’t matter”, but it remained in the film and was further increased to a figure of 50,000.
In this film, the director is trying to show you how Muslims are converting Hindus into Muslims. “Love Jihad” is an important method in different ways and other methods are adopted to accomplish this task.
According to a news outlet interview conducted in 2019, the stories of four ladies from Kerala who converted to Islam and travelled to Afghanistan to join ISIS between 2016 and 2018 served as the inspiration for the events depicted in the movie. They were among a group of 21 people from Kerala who joined ISIS in 2016 and are still detained there as of 2019 despite turning themselves in.
On its opening day, the film grossed ₹8.03 crore in India, making it the fifth highest opener in India for 2023. As of 10 May, it has grossed over ₹56.86 crore (US$7.1 million), becoming the fifth-highest-grossing Hindi film of 2023.
The film performed well in most of India but performed poorly in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.