Kerala Story has crossed the 250 mark at the ticket window. Recently, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on the film by the Tamil Nadu and West Bengal governments, but the film’s producer Vipul Shah says the illegal ban still remains in place in both states. Excerpts from a conversation with Urmila Kori.
Recently the Supreme Court has allowed the release of the film in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, so what is the response to the film?
Even after the Supreme Court order, theater owners are being threatened in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Threatening that your license will not be renewed. If goons come and destroy your theatres, we will save you, otherwise this type of illegal liquor ban is still going on in both states. People crying for democracy are advocating this illegal ban and not even following the Supreme Court order, so it is up to the people of these two states to elect such politicians for their daughters. We did everything within the law to show our film to the audience there. We have done everything. Now everything depends on the audience there how they force the government there to show this movie.
This movie has earned 250 crores. What do you think about this success?
Success has two dimensions. One is the financial figure, which does not matter for the film, but the awareness spread about the film in the country. There was a lot of discussion on this topic. People connection. This is the biggest achievement for me. We have worked hard for this and people have supported us a lot.
Looking back, what was the hardest part of the film journey?
The journey of the film was very tough. We were not allowed to shoot in Kerala. We have sent guerilla units and filmed scenes there. There were many difficulties from the shooting to the release of the film. Understanding that duty, we have made this film. It is our responsibility towards the nation and society to highlight this film with complete truth. That’s what we have done. It took three and a half years to make this film.
Despite its success, the film is not untouched by controversy. Is this film undermining the secular fabric of society, a general discussion too?
After the release of Kerala Story, people are calling the film to destroy the secular fabric of society. The only question I want to ask them is that if there is any evil in the society, it should be exposed and eradicated from the root or not. Should girls’ lives be ruined in the name of secularism? Sati and child marriage existed in Hindu society, have they disappeared? A society can become truly secular only by bringing out the bad things in the society and eliminating them. We as every society need to come out of the stupidity of secularism and accept our evils and honestly only then will secularism be promoted in true sense. Those who do not want to accept the truth, call it propaganda.
After the release of the movie there have been incidents of violence in many places, Akola in Maharashtra is an example of that?
The first thing is not to divide Hindus and Muslims. Some people are with terrorists. They think it’s too easy. Just riot. If there is a fight, the police and the administration will ban the movie. This film will not reach the common people and they will succeed in their mission. No one should die. There should be no violence. We are very sorry about this. We appeal to all, do not encourage any form of violence. It is possible to discuss in a democracy. By being different from someone else’s opinion, you can state your side with an open mind. Where will democracy be if I attack you after any word or deed of yours offends? This also applies to those who commit violence in Akola. This cannot do any good for democracy.
What do you think about the comparison of your film with The Kashmir Files?
Kashmir Files is a great film in its place and a great film in its place. It is easiest for people to compare. To simplify things, they start comparing. We have no problem, but we have done very different films. I think till date no film has been made which exposes the terrorist network in this way. It is not fair to compare such a new subject when we have presented it to people.