'The Kerala Story' has smooth run in state despite protests

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Kozhikode: 'The Kerala Story' depicting the lives of ' three' girls from Kerala who converted to Islam and were held captive in ISIS camps, released in several theatres across the state on Friday.

Reports suggest that the 'controversy' seems to have helped the movie, as theatres are witnessing good footfalls. 'Currently the movie is being screened in around 30 theatres across the state. By the end of next week, 20 more theatres will also start screening the movie,' says FEUOK (Film Exhibitors United Organization of Kerala) president K Vijayakumar.

'No one can stop the screening of a movie which is cleared by the CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification). Recently we had faced a similar situation during the release of the movie 'Pathaan'. We had gone ahead with the screening and the movie turned out to be a huge hit,' he added. According to Jayesh James, an employee at Shenoys Cinema in Ernakulam, 'the movie generated good response on Friday, online bookings were in full swing, and the shows witnessed near to full occupancy.'

'Protestors, including a few Youth Congress activists, had tried to stall the screening initially, but were arrested and taken away by the police. We barricaded the theatre premises while sloganeering and other protest demonstrations continued outside,' he said.

On Friday, several protests were organised across the state, calling out the movie for its exaggerated 'facts' and 'numbers'. Tensions were reported in theatres in districts including Kozhikode, Ernakulam, and Kottayam.

Police outside Shenoys cinema on Friday. Photo Courtesy: Mathrubhumi

However things settled down after the initial shows, and it seems a smooth run thereafter. Prominent actor/film producer Maniyanpilla Raju told mathrubhumi.com, 'the audience are the ultimate judge. They have all the right to see a movie and decide whether it is good or bad. A producer puts in a lot of effort and money to bring his movie into the theatre, that should never go unnoticed,' added the veteran actor.

Anand, a partner of Crown Theater, Kozhikode, said the movie was screened on Friday morning with around 50-60 people in the theatre. However, members of NYC (National Youth Congress) and the Fraternity Movement registered their dissent by gathering in front of the theatre yesterday. They had described the movie as a potential threat to the democratic fabric of the nation.

'Our business is simply showing movies to people! There were protests against movies in the past as well. If you remember, there were huge controversies surrounding movies like Kashmir Files and PK, but those protesting should be well aware of the fact that these movies are certified by CBFC. And they are meant to be shown in the theatres' says Anand.

At an election rally in Bellary in Karnataka yesterday, PM Modi said that the film was based on a terrorist conspiracy in Kerala and criticised the congress for opposing its release. It should be noted that the Kerala High Court had refused to stay the release of the film. The court opined that a 'fictional story' wouldn't create a conflict in the society.

Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, and Siddhi Idnani play the lead roles in the Sudipto Sen directorial. The movie is certified 'A' and is not meant for children.

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