Propaganda masquerading as art


Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui


May 21, 2023


The potential of a movie to reshape societal norms and alter views is commonly missed whereas analysis reveals that motion pictures have the power to boost our emotional intelligence and foster stronger social connections. Psychologists have delved into the correlation between fictional dramas and our emotional states, shedding gentle on this intriguing connection. In addition to stimulating feelings, movies have the facility to immerse audiences in a various vary of emotions, exposing them to a contemporary outlook on life. Films not solely serve as a useful platform for filmmakers, producers, and communicators to boost consciousness on essential points or causes, additionally they ignite profound thought and course of transformations by fascinating the hearts and minds of audiences.

Then there are additionally movies that exploit the susceptibility of viewers, shamelessly parade misinformation, unfold negativity, and promote a discourse of hate. Regrettably, The Kerala Story (TKS) finds itself ensnared inside this lamentable class as it unapologetically traverses a treacherous path, weaving a fabricated tapestry of malice that inevitably ignites controversy about Muslims and Islam.

Disappointed and disgruntled, one acknowledges the deliberate try by TKS to needlessly painting Islam in a sinister gentle, devoid of any semblance of authenticity in immediately’s Islamophobic world. In its quest for sensationalism, the movie intensively magnifies the detrimental elements of this venerable faith [as all religions are respectable], producing discord and division amongst its viewers. Films of this nature that fixate on hate speech and unilaterally current the darker sides of any tradition, faith, or nation, can hardly be deemed as having any creative advantage, as a result of they serve as nothing greater than automobiles for insidious propaganda.

In its essence, TKS is a cautionary story, and a stark reminder of the risks that lurk when creative integrity is sacrificed on the altar of propaganda. The depths to which TKS stoops is actually disheartening. Instead of using a nuanced and insightful method to storytelling, the movie depends on crude caricatures and blatant misrepresentations. It shamelessly panders to base instincts, preying on the fears and biases of its viewers.

Controversy sells, so will TKS

Controversy is a robust instrument on the planet of cinema, as it tends to generate appreciable consideration and entice audiences. It’s an simple actuality that motion pictures related to controversy and people who evoke detrimental sentiments do nicely on the field workplace such as Mission Majnu, The Kashmir Files, The Tashkent Files, to call just a few. In this context, TKS was extremely anticipated and poised to make a big influence commercially.

One facet that has stirred dialogue surrounding TKS is the portrayal of Muslim characters all through the movie as it’s largely inaccurate and skewed. They are painted in an unfairly detrimental gentle, depicted with a predominantly dismal and harsh manner, and utterly missing the attributes of compassion, softness, and positivity. For people who harbour robust biases or animosity in direction of a selected faith, TKS might probably serve as a catalyst to fireplace their detrimental sentiments.

The skewed, stewed story

The movie delves right into a ‘too bad to be true’ narrative round a bunch of girls hailing from Kerala who discover themselves embroiled within the tumultuous world of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Drawing inspiration from the controversial Love Jihad idea, the movie takes a relatively problematic stance, erroneously asserting the conversion of quite a few Kerala ladies into Islam and their subsequent recruitment into ISIS. It revolves round Shalini Unnikrishnan (Adah Sharma)’s compelling and nightmarish odyssey, however she is predictably pushed by her aspirations of changing into a nurse, solely to be kidnapped from her own residence and coerced into the clutches of extremist organisations. Once you perceive the premise, the story has no thriller left, as a result of you realize what’s coming subsequent.

The movie proceeds to unravel an intricate net of deceit and manipulation that ensnares the protagonist, as she falls prey to an insidious love affair. Trapped in a misleading relationship, Shalini tragically finds herself compelled to transform to Islam and finally faces the grim actuality of a number of cases of marital rape. Well, what else might occur! Apparently that was not sufficient, and the depths of her ordeal attain their apex when she turns into a sufferer of a harrowing gang rape, unsurprisingly orchestrated by the Mujahideens within the distant outskirts of Afghanistan.

While these distressing occasions kind the crux of the narrative, TKS comes throughout as a disconcerting cocktail of hatred and prejudice. It explores themes that faucet into divisive ideologies, additional exacerbating the already controversial premise of the movie.

The provocative portrayal of a girl’s harrowing journey, marred by manipulation, violence, and the grim underbelly of extremist ideologies is being lapped up by Indian audiences as it presents sensational components such as ISIS intercourse slaves of savage spiritual fanatics. The movie indulges in exaggerating and even altering information within the tales of those actual life individuals for dramatic worth, in a bid to polarise viewers additional and have to be approached with a essential eye, sanity and a conscience that recognises the potential the movie affords for the perpetuation of dangerous stereotypes, and fact-free conspiracy theories.

Before its launch, the movie promos claimed that the movie was about 32,000 ladies from Kerala who had been misled into becoming a member of ISIS. When the quantity was fact-checked, the group backtracked and made it 3. The movie opened although, not solely with the imaginary determine of 32,000, however goes on so as to add that the precise, unofficial determine 50,000!

Yes we all know there’s spiritual indoctrination and radicalisation, however the movie ignores the complexity in these tales, and the large variations between communities. In actuality, the Salafi motion in Kerala has opposition from inside the Muslim group however the author appears unaware.


Propaganda down your throat

In TKS, Muslims are depicted in a brutal and heartless method that leaves no room for nuance or complexity. The writers have meticulously crafted characters who’re supposed to current Muslims as nothing wanting evil, portraying them as deceitful and monstrous beings. The on-screen execution of those characters has a deliberate and premeditated really feel, designed solely to perpetuate a detrimental and twisted picture of Muslims.

It resorts to an extreme show of blood and gore conveniently attributed to Muslim characters. Such exaggerated depictions spotlight a deliberate try and stoop to model new and modern lows as a way to vilify Muslims. The portrayal of Shalini as a brainwashed jihadi, and her supposedly-not-being brainwashed reaches a stage of absurdity that may solely be described as comical, an attribute, not seen by the movie makers.

The scenes that depict the prohibition of girls proudly owning cell phones, in keeping with Shariah Law, additional reinforcing detrimental stereotypes. Shalini’s expertise of marital rape by the hands of a working towards Muslim character provides to the narrative’s sensationalism. It turns into more and more difficult to droop disbelief when confronted with incredulous dialogues such as “Eating without prayer is a sin” or “Failure to thank Allah after a meal will condemn us to hellfire.”

The general narrative of TKS is simply too contrived and particular agenda-driven to be entertaining, enjoyable or unridiculous. Weak minds can simply succumb to the affect of the Muslim woman, Asifa, with none semblance of resistance or unbiased thought. The movie’s relentless and forceful method to its narrative additional substantiates its underlying propagandistic intent.

Shallow characters with knee-deep analysis

The whole forged of characters is devoid of any semblance of humanity, firmly entrenched within the realm of extremism. Rameez, Abdullah, Asifa, and different Muslim characters are constantly portrayed with a singular dimension ― conniving and manipulative. However, let’s delve into the core of this movie with a extra critical lens, as it primarily revolves round human trafficking and the disturbing narrative of how a bunch of younger males ensnare Hindu and Muslim women by false love, resulting in pregnancies, solely to later abscond with them to Afghanistan below the guise of jihad.

The characters converse of nothing however faith day and night time. The author is so determined to drill the movie’s agenda in our heads that each second of the screenplay is punctuated with phrases such as Hindu, Islam, Allah, your God, my God.

At first look, the premise of TKS could elicit anger, but upon nearer examination, one can’t assist however chuckle on the absurdities and the lackluster justifications offered by characters who battle even to pronounce fundamental phrases accurately, not to mention ship performances with conviction.

While the movie makes an attempt to deal with weighty subject material, it falls quick in its execution, leaving the viewers questioning the believability and credibility of the narrative. The character growth lacks depth, failing to evoke any empathy or real reference to the viewers. This oversight detracts from the general influence the movie goals to attain.

It might have been a thought-provoking exploration of a pertinent challenge, shedding gentle on the darkish challenge of human trafficking however the movie’s amateurish method and one-dimensional characteristion undermines its potential influence, rendering it as an unconvincing portrayal of a fancy downside. Approach TKS with warning, as it might go away discerning viewers craving for extra substance and authenticity.

Why TKS is working

In a panorama dominated by sensationalism and controversy, movies centred round detrimental sentiments typically thrive on the field workplace. Unfortunately, TKS is a movie that exemplifies this off-putting reality. The creators shamelessly exploit anti-Islamic and anti-Pakistani sentiments, pandering to base instincts and producing fervour amongst those that harbour hateful ideologies.

As accountable members of society, we should recognise the risks of such initiatives and resist the attract of negativity. We ought to try for a cinematic panorama that promotes empathy, tolerance, and real storytelling, relatively than succumbing to the seductive grip of hatred and distorted views.

The success of TKS can largely be attributed to 2 distinct components: an viewers that both lacks a deep understanding of the Islamic religion or harbours a need to denigrate and undermine the picture of Muslims and Islam. Disappointingly, the movie’s triumph on the field workplace shouldn’t be as a consequence of distinctive performances or standout dialogue and the course fails to exhibit any type of creative brilliance.

One can solely hope that discerning audiences, armed with a eager eye for discerning reality from fiction, will rise above the lure of such movies. It is crucial to recognise and reject the poisonous narratives woven by work like TKS for his or her influence extends far past the confines of the silver display screen. By denouncing such propaganda masquerading as art, we are able to safeguard the integrity of the movie trade and protect the facility of cinema to encourage, enlighten, and unite.


Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui is an avid film buff, and movie and drama critic and a digital inbound marketer. He tweets as All info and information are the duty of the author

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