The Kerala Story Review: A story marred by bad storytelling !

The Kerala Story ( 2023/ Drama/ Cinema Release)

Written By – Suryapal Singh , Sudipto Sen, Vipul Amrutlal Shah

Directed by – Sudipto Sen

Cast – Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani, Siddhi Idnani

The intense hype, the accusation and defence flying to and fro , and the extremely polarised reviews are bound to make anyone curious.

Well. how you see the film will totally depend upon your perspective and how clinically you segregate the different aspects of the film -intention, quality and the story. I was more invested in the latter. 


The film begins with Fatima / Shalini ,allegedly a trained terrorist, in custody of UN  having been caught somewhere in Afghanistan.

She regales her story from the days when she stepped into her nursing college.

The story focuses on the network of ISIS which aims to lure gullible girls from other religions to convert so that they can then be exploited for nefarious purposes.

She tells how she was brainwashed and then trapped into conversion.

Her journey takes us from Kerala to Columbo to Afghanistan , probably on way to Syria, before she gets caught by the UNPKF while she was trying to escape the clutches of the terrorists.


The film wastes no time in getting on point.

Religion rules the first half and there’s nothing veiled about it.

The terrorist networks masterminding the honey trap and the religious brainwashing is shown in such detail that it seems tiresome, stretched and too brazen. 

The second half thankfully paces the story better but is harsher as it now focuses on Shalini’s plight as Fatima. The ruthlessness, the fanaticism and  the horrifying circumstances of women in Talibani Afghanistan have been dwelt upon. 

The cinematic analysis of the film is simple and straight. Its a crudely made film and it is uncomfortably loud. A subpar screenplay and direction prevents an emotional connect with the protagonist and somehow dilutes the impact. 

Some subtlety and finesse would have done it a lot of good. 

It does leave you unsettled though & the second half is slightly disturbing. 

The film focuses on how the terrorist organisations use religious fanaticism to brainwash people.

The numbers might be debatable but how ISIS indoctrinates and uses people, be it from Islam or any religion, is known to all. The horrifying condition of women in areas under their control is known to all. What has been portrayed is a sum total of all the terrifying stories we have read in news columns from time to time.

As I would like to see it, the film is a scathing attack on religious conversions that are done with malafide intention to deploy women for ISIS .

To be in complete denial that this happens would be unfair. 

But it should not instill any negative emotion in mature audience against any religion. As I said before, it’s all about perspective.

Having said that, I do feel that with better treatment, the film would been more impactful. 

After all, “how you say it” is as important as “what you say”. And that’s where the film falters. 

Personally, I can neither defend the way the film handles the subject, nor dismiss what it tries to say. 

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