The Kerala Story Movie Review: The Kerala Story is a brave attempt at presenting such a controversial, sensitive subject, but it lacks conviction and could have been more crisp and clear. Nonetheless, you can definitely watch it at least once.
The Kerala Story Movie Review Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ | 3/5
The Kerala Story Movie Cast: Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, Pranay Pachauri and the ensemble.
The Kerala Story Movie Director: Sudipto Sen
The Kerala Story Movie Story: The plot revolves around three girls, Shalini (Adah Sharma), Nimah (Yogita Bihani), and Geetanjali (Siddhi Idnani), who are duped into converting to Islam by their Muslim roommate, Asifa (Sonia Balani). The film is divided into two parts: the first half depicts the girls’ conversion process, and the second half depicts Shalini’s journey as an ISIS member and eventual escape.
The Kerala Story Movie Review
With Vivek Agnihotri’s commercial success with ‘The Kashmir Files,’ filmmakers have a green light to take on such daring and controversial subjects. “The Kerala Story” is a film about the conversion of Hindu and Christian girls to Islam in the state of Kerala and their subsequent involvement with extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Sudipto Sen accepts the challenge of presenting this sensitive and contentious subject in a feature film. The film serves as a reminder of the dangers of speaking out about certain aspects of religion in a country like India.
Large portions of the first half are pure manipulation on your face, almost making you feel ‘islamophobic.’ The transitions between timelines are well-executed, keeping the two scenarios in balance. However, given the traumatic subject matter, the film’s runtime can be problematic, as it feels stretched and heavy at times.
When a film deals with a sensitive subject or a true-life incident, it is critical to proceed with caution. The challenge is to convey the message without sounding preachy or biased. The film must walk a fine line between being educational and becoming a propaganda tool. This is especially true when it comes to contentious issues like love jihad, conversion, and Sharia laws.
When the romantic aspect of the plot is highlighted, the setting plays an important role in the film’s presentation, showcasing the breezy beaches and outskirts of Kerala. In contrast, the shattered houses, deserts of Iraq, and hollow homes add to the drama and plight of the characters in the second half. When the characters are on the verge of being converted, the background score heightens the tension.
Adah Sharma gives a strong performance as Shalini, capturing her character’s plight and mental state while being brainwashed. She maintains the South Indian accent while delivering her lines, which adds to the authenticity of her performance. The climax monologue by Yogita Bihani is fiery and delivered with conviction. Siddhi Idnani and Sonia Balani also give commendable performances, living up to the expectations of their roles.