Some claim it’s because of safety concerns, others say external pressure led to decision
KOCHI: Just before the official release of the controversial movie, The Kerala Story, many theatres in the state withdrew from its screening. While some claim it’s because of safety concerns, others believe that external pressure drove them to a change in decision. Despite many having previously agreed to screen the movie, only 22 theatres in the state did it.
In Ernakulam, the movie was screened only at Shenoy’s Cinemas. Though tickets were available at Cinepolis and Darshana theatre in Piravom on Thursday, there was no screening.
Mukesh Mehta, film producer, E4 Entertainments, which distributes The Kerala Story in the state, told TNIE that the movie was screened in 22 theatres.
“Twenty-two theatres in Kerala showed the movie. There were no issues in between, and whichever theatre started screening the movie did not stop,” said Mehta. On the first day’s box-office collection, Mukesh said that he didn’t have the right to comment on it as the producer is the authorised person to comment on the matter. “Everybody knows the audience’s reaction. We are watching it on television and new media,” he added.
M Vijayakumar, the Film Exhibitors United Organisation Kerala (FEUOK) president, said it is PVRs and Cinepolis that have mainly withdrawn from the screening. “The agreement was to screen the movie in 28 theatres. And it was screened in around 20 theatres. It is PVR and Cinepolis in the malls that have pulled out of the screening of the movies. Most stand-alone theatres have screened The Kerala Story,” said Vijayakumar.
When asked about the reason for the withdrawal from screening, Vijayakumar hinted that there might be some influence from outside. “The movie had a good response, and the situation was peaceful in most theatres. There might be some pressure behind the withdrawal,” he added.
Liberty Basheer, the advisory board member of the Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation, said that the theatre owners pulled out of the screening of the movie maybe after considering the safety. “There is a huge protest against the movie screening in the state. All parties, except BJP, are against the screening of The Kerala Story. So considering the safety and protection, several theatres have decided not to screen it,” Basheer said.
He also said that the theatre owners would have to pay for the damages if there was any issue while screening the movie.
“While screening a controversial movie like this, if there is any financial loss due to violence and protests, the theatre owners will have to pay for it. We don’t want to take any chances. Thus, many theatres decided to back out at the last moment,” said Basheer.
WHAT THE COURT SAID
- There are no incorrect and derogatory remarks against a religion. This is fiction. There are no ghosts or vampires, but there are a large number of movies showing the same.
- What is there against Muslims? This is a fictional story. Merely because some religious heads are shown in a bad light doesn’t warrant a ban on the movie.
- If this statement is offending someone, it is only ISIS. There is nothing against the Muslim community.
- You can say my God is the only God. My God is the true God. The Constitution permits it.
- This is not the first time a movie sets something in a bad light. Why this movie alone?
- What producer said
- A disclaimer states that it is a work of fiction inspired by true events. In a film, things are always dramatised. Otherwise, no one will watch it.