The Kerala Story is becoming more and more controversial each day. There has been also talk about movie potentially getting banned. However is it really just religious movie to create hate between two religion or is it something entirely different ? Find out that in this my unbiased review of the Kerala Story.
Before going to review I would like to point out the. Everything that you read here is my personal opinion on the movie and it is no way influenced by any other person, party or organization. I am not movie critic but a regular movie fan who loves to be entertained trough good cinema. So, let’s get to it.
Directed by: Sudipto Sen
Writers: Suryapal Singh, Sudipto Sen, Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Release Date: 5 May 2023
Run Time: 2 hours 18 minutes
- Adah Sharma – Shalini Unnikrishnan/Faima Ba
- Bhavna Makhija – Bhagyalaxmi
- Devadarshini Chetan – Shalini’s mother
- Pranali Ghoghare – Shaziya
- Saniya Mir – Misbha
- Siddhi Idnani – Geethanjali Menon
- Sonia Balani – Asifa
- Usha Subramanian Saksena – Geetanjali’s Mother
- Yogita Bihani – Nimah Mathew
First of all I would like to say that all religions have their own beliefs and they are beautiful in their own way. Unfortunately some people uses fear of god and religious punishment to force their own beliefs on someone else, and that’s exactly what the Kerala story is trying to tell.
For example, if someone doesn’t like someone else’s dressing style or choice of food then they will use religion as excuse to force their own choices on that person.
Many critics out there are claiming that it’s religious movie, However I feel like that’s not true at all. It’s not just religious movie, in fact I believe movie would have worked even if you take religions out of it. Many people have misunderstood the actual message that movie is trying to convey.
The Kerala story tries to expose terrorism and their twisted mindset as well as the hatred toward the woman. I believe Kerala story is more of guide movie for young Indian teenage girls on what they should avoid to becoming victim of terrorism and hate crimes.
As well as it’s also a eye opener for Indian parents who have become so modernized that they forget to teach their kids “how to be safe while dealing with real world?”
The story is based on true events and does show real some real characters in the end. there are several people who are claiming that this fake story, however if you look at new reports you will find lots of cases just as this one. So, it’s doesn’t really matter true or false, this is much needed story to bring people’s attention toward serious issue happening in Kerala as well as other parts of India.
The story revolves around the Kerala girl named Shalini Unnikrishnan (Adah Sharma). the movie starts with her getting arrested as terrorist. While getting interrogated she reveals horrifying story of how she was manipulated by terrorist organization to get converted to Fatima Ba and later to become suicide bomber.
Shalini joins hostel in order to study and become nurse where she meets three new friends, Nimah Mathew (Yogita Bihani), Geethanjali Menon (Siddhi Idnani), Asifa (Sonia Balani). All four of them starts talking and become friends immediately. However, as it turns out Asifa was actually part of terrorist organization, and she was just disguised as the student to manipulate these three innocent’s girls.
Asifa slowly starts laying groundwork and starts telling other girls about her religion and start scaring them by mentioning scary punishment from God. Later she also uses love as weapon to trap these girls further. She subtly brings in three guys from her organization disguised her cousins and friends. They use their charm and sophisticated approach to make the girls fall in love with them. Asifa also gives the drugs to the girl in name of anxiety pills as well as use several other technics to manipulate all three girls and make them believe that if they don’t convert to Islam they will be punished by God (Allah).
Shalini, Nimah and Geethanjali had different religious beliefs and completely different types of personality. The movie uses their diversity to brilliantly explain how such manipulation and terrorist action can completely ruin the lives of innocent girls.
The story also showcases modern parents’ role in such accidents and irresponsibility toward their children. Later, Movie shows pain and agony parents had to suffer due to such crimes against their children. There is really good lesson in this story for both, parents as well as young teenage girls. lastly, the movie also takes a dig at Indian law and police force and their inability to help the victims.
For the climax there is no heroic ending but rather more realistic approach which works perfectly with theme of the movie and surely will give you something to think about.
Overall, The Kerala Story tries to showcase terrorist activates being committed in name of religion rather than trying to defame anyone. The story is full of thrill and will keep you to the edge of seat.
The Kerala Story might not have been as good and as convincing if it wasn’t backed by solid acting from entire cast. I will try to go over each individual actor and character and tell you how they performed in the most.
Adah Sharma (Shalini Unnikrishnan/ Fatima Ba)- From Naive girl with single mother, Shalini Unnikrishnan to becoming Fatima Ba and then becoming Victim Shalini Unnikrishnan, she is brilliant throughout the movie. Adah Sharma nails every single part of story with her solid acting skill and makes entire story very convincing, something that was very crucial for this movie. Her accent of Kerala girl was also on point and sound very genuine, well at least to me.
Yogita Bihani (Nimah Mathew) – She is playing a role of free spirted catholic girl named Nimah Mathew. She doesn’t really have as much screen time as other characters. However, she played her part in the movie very well.
Siddhi Idnani (Geethanjali Menon) – Siddhi Idnani plays a role of sort of atheist girl with bold personality. And I have to say that she does look totally bold and full of confidence throughout movie. Geethanjali has some challenging seen with her father which can be quite tricky to perform, however Siddhi has executed them very well.
Sonia Balani (Asifa) – Asifa’ character is written as antagonist in the movie, which means audience have to feel remorse toward her. Sonia Balani’s Acting does get the job done here. Her acting as bad guy is totally on point and most people will surely dislike her character.
Devadarshini Chetan (Shalini’s mother) – Shalini’s character goes through 2 major changes in the movie, which also have impact on her mother making Devadarshini’s acting very important. Devadarshini plays role of single Hindu mother as well as victim’s mother effortlessly with lots of emotions.
There isn’t any big superstar in the movie, but all these actors performed beyond my expectations. Adah Sharma is completing on next level in the movie and Kerala Story will surely help her acting career.
Direction and Technical Aspect
These is where The Kerala story struggles a bit. Sudipto Sen’s direction is mostly good but there is thing which could have been better. For example, entire film is filled with violent scenes, which can provoke audience’s mind. All the scenes were too open and graphic, they could have certainly done better job with these scenes.
Another major flow is the lack of good character from Muslim community who isn’t Terrorist. Mind you, the Kerala story in no way claims that all Muslims are bad, but they could have showed this by adding couple of normal Muslim people who isn’t part of terrorist organization. Such Characters would have definitely saved the movie from big controversy.
Coming back to good part of the movie, the cinematography and choice of location is jaw dropping. The way movie showcases some of the fantastic middle eastern location with brilliant camera work is mind-blowing. Strictly speaking about the cinematography, The Kerala story looks as if it came straight from the Hollywood.
The Music and soundtracks are decent too. The Kerala story uses few songs to enhance the scenes from the movie. While song “Tu Mila” catches Kerala vibes, “Pagal Parindey” perfectly syncs up with the theme of the movie. Most songs aren’t really too flashy or memorable and they simply just fade in the background, which is a good thing for a such movies.
The Kerala story is filled with thriller scene which makes sound effects very crucial part of the movie. They have done good job with it and it will totally grab your attention.
So, now time for the final question. whether you should Kerala story or not?
Well, I have very simple answer for you, if you are against terrorist brainwashing and their cruel crimes against the humanity, especially women, Then the Kerala Story must watch film for you. Sure, Movie could have done some things better to avoid conflict between two religions. However, in no way it’s a bad movie and it certainly doesn’t deserve to get banned. Ultimately, it will all come down to your own personal perspective, you can see it as religious hate movie or a movie which despise a terrorism and crimes against humanity. I would leave that up to you.