PIL in Kerala HC against ‘The Kerala Story’ film; court to hear it on May 5

"'The Kerala Story' claims to be inspired from true events. However, the statements in the teaser and trailer of the movie are far distant from the truth," the petition said.

Kochi: A public interest litigation (PIL) was moved in the Kerala High Court on Tuesday against certain statements in the teaser and trailer of controversial Hindi film, ‘The Kerala Story’, and seeking that the court set aside the certificate for public display given to the movie by the censor board.

The high court, after hearing brief arguments, listed the matter for hearing on May 5, the day the film is scheduled to be released.

A bench of Justices N Nagaresh and C P Mohammed Nias also gave time to Deputy Solicitor General of India (DSGI) Manu S, appearing for the Centre and the censor board, to obtain the CBFC’s stand on the PIL before the next date of hearing.

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The plea was moved by a lawyer, Anoop V R, who contended that the movie “falsely portrayed” certain facts which had resulted in “insulting” the people of Kerala, and sought a stay on the movie’s impending release.

“‘The Kerala Story’ claims to be inspired from true events. However, the statements in the teaser and trailer of the movie are far distant from the truth,” the petition said.

It contended that it was necessary to stay the release of the movie in its present form and remove “all the incorrect and unverified statements or scenes derogatory to the Muslim community and the state of Kerala”.

The petitioner, in the PIL, urged the court to direct the movie’s director Sudipto Sen, its producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah and the production company Sunshine Pictures to redact or remove, prior to the film’s release, certain statements, particularly the ones that say that the film was inspired by true stories and that 32,000 women from Kerala were converted to Islam and joined the Islamic State (IS).

It also urged the court to prohibit screening of the film without expunging the portions which allegedly have characteristics of hate speech and to set aside the ‘A’ certificate granted to the movie by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

The petition was opposed by the Centre and CBFC, with DSGI Manu S arguing that the Supreme Court has held in many cases that once the certification was granted by the censor board, the same could not be interfered with by courts.

The DSGI contended that according to the SC verdict regarding the movie ‘Padmavati’, even the fear of a possible deterioration of law-and-order was not a relevant consideration once the CBFC had cleared a movie.

The film’s distributor too opposed the PIL saying that filing it at the last moment was “ill motivated”.

‘The Kerala Story’, starring Adah Sharma, is set to be released in cinemas on May 5 and is portrayed as “unearthing” the events behind “approximately 32,000 women” allegedly going missing from Kerala.

According to the CPI(M) and the Congress in Kerala, the film falsely claims that 32,000 women got converted and radicalised and were deployed in terror missions in India and the world.

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