‘The Kerala Story’ gets lone Bengal theatre days after SC ruling, evokes ‘good response’

'The Kerala Story' gets lone Bengal theatre days after SC ruling, evokes 'good response'
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‘The Kerala Story’ is being screened at only one theatre in West Bengal and has received a good response from the audience. The Supreme Court had overturned a West Bengal government ban on the movie.

Days after The ‘Kerala Story’ remained absent from Bengal’s movie halls, the movie is finally being screened at a theatre in Bongaon town in North 24 Parganas district near the India-Bangladesh border.

An official of the Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) told PTI that ‘The Kerala Story’ evoked a good response from the audience.

The movie is being shown in cinema halls with a disclaimer that the “narratives are based on fictional accounts”, PTI reported.

“Sreema Cinema Hall on Ramnagar Road in Bongaon, around 75 km from Kolkata, is screening the movie. But we do not have knowledge whether any other theatre in the state is showing the film or not,” the office-bearer of EIMPA, the apex body of cinema hall owners and distributors of the eastern region, told PTI.

He said after the state government banned the movie, as many as 60 cinema halls started alloting their slots to other Bengali, Hindi and English movies. Except for one movie hall, all have cited their inability to resume screening, he added.

“We offered them several time slots but they did not show any inclination to screen the film,” he said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on May 8 announced a ban on the movie to ‘maintain peace’. The state government claimed it feared communal disturbances if it was screened. Mamata Banerjee described ‘The Kerala Story’ as a distorted movie, aimed at defaming the southern state.

The Supreme Court overturned the ban imposed by the West Bengal government and allowed the screening of the movie with a disclaimer that it was a “fictionalised version” and there was no authentic data on claims on the number of women who converted to Islam.

Despite the ban being lifted, theatre owners remained aloof from screening the controversial film.

‘The Kerala Story’s’ director Sudipta Sen had speculated that movie hall owners were perhaps afraid of showing the film.

“The movie is being screened in only one theatre despite us assuring the hall owners that they would not face any legal hurdle if they screen the movie after May 18,” Satadip Saha, on behalf of the film’s distributors SSR Cinema, told PTI.

Earlier, BJP’s IT department head Amit Malviya in his Twitter post claimed that not a single theatre in the state capital Kolkata is screening the movie. Amit Malviya claimed that theatre owners were being threatened by the local administration with ‘punitive action’.

‘The Kerala Story’ which was released in theatre halls on May 5, claims that women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS). The movie has earned Rs 200 crore at the box office worldwide.

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