Mumbai, May 8 (PTI) "The Kerala Story" producer Vipul Shah on Monday said they will take legal action against the ban imposed by the West Bengal government on the screening of the film in the state.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered an immediate ban on the screening of the controversial movie to avoid "any incident of hatred and violence".
"If that's what she has done, then we will again take legal action. Whatever is possible under the provisions of the law, we will fight that," Shah said at a press conference when asked about the ban in West Bengal.
The Kerala High Court had refused to stay the release and said the trailer does not contain anything offensive to any particular community as a whole. It noted that the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has examined the movie and found it suitable for public exhibition.
"The Kerala Story", which depicts the plight of a group of women in Kerala who are forced to convert and join the ISIS, has kicked up a political storm.
While many BJP leaders have spoken in its favour, Kerala’s ruling CPI(M) and opposition Congress have said the film falsely claims that 32,000 women got converted and radicalised and were deployed in terror missions both in India and the world.
The film's director Sudipto Sen and Shah had called the press conference after several theatres apparently declined to screen the movie in Tamil Nadu fearing protests. Asked about the losses it may face due to the ban, Shah said, "We will not talk about profit or loss now, we will only try to ensure that more and more people watch the film. If a state government or a private person will try to stop the film, then we will try every legal route possible."
Producer Shah called "The Kerala Story" a film on a "serious social subject" and requested the Tamil Nadu government to ensure a "smooth and fair" release of the movie.
"In Tamil Nadu, one individual has threatened and forced the government to stop the release," he said without naming anyone.
"I'm requesting the government ensure that the film is released since the honourable court has already given the order. It is the state government's duty to ensure a smooth and fair release of the film. Let people decide whether they want to see it. But this is a completely unacceptable situation," he added.
On April 6, Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) staged a protest against the release of the film in Chennai. Seeman, the party's coordinator, who is also actor and director, along with NTK cadres, had protested near Anna Nagar Arch.
The film has earned Rs 35 crore in its opening weekend and Shah said there has been a 20 to 30 percent jump in numbers on Monday.
In a rally in Ballari in poll-bound Karnataka on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referenced the movie in his speech, “Such a beautiful state of the country, where people are hardworking and talented. The ‘Kerala Story’ film brings out terror conspiracies happening in that state."
Shah said the film has become of national importance now.
"Our honourable PM has spoken about this film. Other important political parties have talked about the film and have presented this subject as something of national importance. There are some people who have supported and some have opposed. Now no one can ignore it on the national level, which is a huge achievement for us," he added.
The filmmaker said people would have rejected the film if it was a propaganda movie.
"It is running successfully in Kerala and next Wednesday or Thursday, we will dub the film in Malayalam. We are trying that. We haven't faced any issues in Kerala, which is why this is so surprising that people have seen the film and appreciated it in Kerala but in Tamil Nadu, one person has held hostage the state and its government," he added.
The Indian Film & Television Directors' Association on Monday condemned West Bengal's decision to ban the movie in the state.
"IFTDA condemns the ban on Vipul Shah's film 'The Kerala Story' by the Bengal government. We strongly feel that it's against the freedom of expression of a filmmaker. We stand by the filmmaker and his film exactly the way we stood by films like 'Udta Punjab' and 'Padmaavat'," the film body said in a statement.