A day after the West Bengal government banned The Kerala Story, film’s director Sudipto Sen called the decision ‘politically motivated’. In a new interview, Sudipto asked state chief minister Mamata Banerjee to watch the film and then take a decision. He recalled that when Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat was banned in 2018, Mamata was ‘the first political leader who came in support of the movie’. (Also Read | Producers Guild of India raises strong objection on ‘state-enforced’ ban on The Kerala Story, says it is ‘distressed’)
West Bengal became the first state to ban The Kerala Story which narrates the ordeal of three women who are trafficked to ISIS camps after being converted to Islam through marriage. Mamata had said that The Kerala Story was banned to “avoid any incident of hatred and violence, and maintain peace in the state”.
Speaking with news agency ANI, Sudipto said, “Not a single untoward incident has happened in the state because of the film. The decision to ban the film is politically motivated. I request her to watch the film and then take any decision…I am not a politician, I am a filmmaker. I can only make a film, you want to see it or not that you guys will decide. There was no problem when the film was released in Kolkata for four days, suddenly Didi felt that there could be law and order issues Mahua Moitra, Mamata Banerjee, they are the champion of free speech, human rights.”
He also added, “I requested her to watch the film first and not to decide on people’s opinions. You will like the film, you will be proud that the Bengali director made this responsible film. After watching the film, everyone started liking the film so much that all the debate ended automatically. There was one problem that too was not a major problem in Tamil Nadu. There was a guy who use to threaten the movie hall owners. Every time, if there is any issue in Tamil Nadu that particular gentleman use to stand by and created problems. After all this, the Tamil Nadu High Court allowed us and said there is no logic to ban the film if the censor board has already given the clearance.”
The movie has been made tax-free in Madhya Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh has also decided to make it tax-free in the state. A massive controversy erupted around the film after its trailer claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had gone missing and joined the terrorist group ISIS. However, in the face of protests, the contentious figure in the trailer was later withdrawn.