No movie hall in Bengal is screening 'Kerala Story' as yet: Distributors

"May be they don't want to antagonise anyone"

Press Trust of India Kolkata
The kerala story

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Despite the Supreme Court allowing screening of the movie 'The Kerala Story' in West Bengal, no cinema hall has as yet agreed to show the controversial film which was earlier banned by the state government fearing "communal disturbances".

Satadeep Saha, distributor of the film in Bengal, told PTI on Friday that none of the single screens and multiplexes in the state have come forward to show 'The Kerala Story' as yet, including theatres owned by his family.

"We have asked the hall owners and multi-plex authorities that they can go ahead with the screening since there is no hurdle in showing Kerala Story now. But till now no one has picked up the move for release here May be they don't want to antagonise anyone," Saha told PTI.

However, the Regional Head of Inox Amitabha Guha Thakurata told PTI "we are waiting for (state) government's formal orders."

Director of the movie, Sudipto Sen at a press conference on Friday claimed he has been told by several hall owners that they have been threatened "by certain quarters" and asked not to screen the film.

Sen, who was speaking at a press meet here accompanied by the film's female lead Adah Sharma, claimed an estimated 1.5-2 crore people have already watched the movie all over the country, within two weeks after its release.

'The Kerala Story' which was released in theatre halls on May 5, claims that women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS).

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The West Bengal government had earlier banned the movie claiming it feared communal disturbances if it was screened.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the ban on Thursday and allowed its screening with a disclaimer that the movie was a "fictionalised version" and there was no authentic data on claims on the number of women who converted to Islam.

"We don't want to be embroiled in any controversy. I call upon Hon'ble chief minister Mamata Banerjee to kindly see the film herself and decide if it poses any threat to communal harmony or law and order disturbances," Sen said.

He said people should be allowed to decide whether they want to watch the film or not.

"I am a Bengali, the production designer is a Bengali. We are shocked and disappointed that such a thing is happening in Bengal.

"If security is not being provided to the theatre owners despite the SC order, we feel outraged, shocked," the movie director said.

He pointed out how TMC leader Mahua Moitra had flagged the banning of a BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and TMC had spoken of freedom of opinion on that issue.

"Now where has the issue of artistic freedom gone? Can there be two sets of yardsticks in two situations?" he asked.

Producer Vipul Shah addressing the press virtually from Mumbai, hinted if the film is not shown in theatres in the state, the movie company may again move the court.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: May 20 2023 | 7:21 AM IST

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