“I’m against…”: Kamal Haasan on ‘The Kerala Story’ controversy

PTI, May 27, 2023, 6:43 PM IST

Abu Dhabi: Veteran actor Kamal Haasan on Saturday called ”The Kerala Story” a propaganda, saying a film does not become a ”true story” just by carrying a tagline.

Directed by Sudipto Sen, ”The Kerala Story” has polarised the political discourse in the country as it depicts how women from Kerala were forced to convert and recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS).

Talking to reporters here on the sidelines of IIFA Awards and Weekend, the actor-filmmaker said he is ”dead against” the propaganda movies as they are based on ”lies” that divide people of the country.

”I’m against propaganda films. It’s not enough if you write ‘true story’ at the bottom as a logo. It has to really be true. And that is not true,” Haasan said, reacting to the controversy surrounding ”The Kerala Story”.

The movie, which released on May 5, was banned by the West Bengal government, fearing tensions among communities. Theatres in Tamil Nadu had decided to stop the screening, citing the law-and-order situation and a poor audience turnout.

Last week, the Supreme Court stayed the West Bengal government’s order banning the film in the state and asked Tamil Nadu to ensure the safety of the moviegoers. ”The Kerala Story” stars Adah Sharma in the lead, along with actors Yogita Bihani, Sonia Balani and Siddhi Idnani. The movie has so far raised over Rs 200 crore at the domestic box office. Haasan, 68, also lauded the box office performance of filmmaker Mani Ratnam’s ”Ponniyin Selvan-II”.

”I’m as proud as if I have produced it. It made me so much happy that it made Mani Ratnam happy. We are working and producing the next project together,” the screen icon said.

”Ponniyin Selvan-II”, the second part of Ratnam’s period action epic, was released in theatres on April 28 in Tamil along with the dubbed versions in Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.

On the possibility of a collaboration with contemporary Rajinikanth, Haasan said they are in discussions.

”We have done many films together and for us, it is not a surprise. For the newer generation, it might be a surprise. We have spoken about working together, he is the star and I’m the producer,” he said.

The two legends of Indian cinema have worked together on movies such as ”Apoorva Raagangal”, ”16 Vayathinile”, ”Moondru Mudichu”, ”Avargal” and ”Uruvavugal Maralam”.

Haasan, who will be honoured with the Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema honour at the IIFA award on Saturday, said ”awards and rewards” are equally important in his life.

”I started off with earning Rs 250 per gig as a dance assistant. And what I’m getting now is more than the reward… If I say I don’t work for rewards, that’ll be a lie. If I say I don’t care for awards, that is also a lie. I care for both. I can’t sell my awards but I can spend my money,” he said.

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