Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, and Asaduddin Owaisi were depicted on a poster by UP BJP leader Abhijat Mishra giving orders to a “masked man” to outlaw “The Kerala Story,” and Owaisi responded to the image. Owaisi tweeted, “Yeh sab ek hi ‘Laila’ ke Dewaane hain.” In Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana, the film has been declared tax-free despite its contentious claims about the number of Muslim women from Kerala who joined ISIS. The movie has been outlawed by the West Bengal government.
After the West Bengal government’s ban, the disputed poster reappeared. Speaking to someone who was against the movie, the four leaders were seen. Rahul Gandhi was heard stating, “Yes Sir, I am trying my best,” when Owaisi was handed the line, “Neither the government nor the court is listening.”
The Kerala Story team, which included director Sudipto Sen, main actress Adah Sharma, and producer Vipul Shah, met with Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, and commended the state’s legislation against forced conversion.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan referred to the movie’s preview as Sangh Parivar propaganda as soon as it was released, while Kerala Congress MP Shashi Tharoor criticized the producers for their overblown claims. Tharoor remarked, “This is not our Kerala tale. On the other hand, BJP leaders poured their support behind the film, with Prime Minister Modi addressing it during an electoral campaign in Karnataka. The film was released on May 5, which only served to intensify the dispute. The West Bengal government formally forbade the showing, while Tamil Nadu theater owners pulled the distribution due to low box office performance and the absence of a major celebrity.
“Why did they make Kashmir Files? To humiliate one section. What is this Kerala files? If they can prepare Kashmir files to condemn the Kashmiri people… now they are defaming Kerala state also. Every day they are defaming through their narrative,” Mamata Banerjee said inviting a legal notice from The Kashmir Files director Vivek Agnihotri.
The Kerala Story’s producers have petitioned the Supreme Court to hear their case on May 12 in order to overturn the West Bengal ban.