Zero taxes, ban & boycott: How different Indian states treated 'The Kerala Story'

A poster of the movie, The Kerala Story.

The controversial film "The Kerala Story" will be released in 37 countries on May 12, a week after its release in India. Directed by Sudipto Sen, it depicts how women from Kerala were forced to convert to Islam and thereafter recruited by the terror group Islamic State (IS) which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The controversy began after makers dropped the trailer, which claimed that 32,000 girls from Kerala had gone missing and joined ISIS. BJP leaders have supported the film and urged other states to follow suit.

It has earned Rs 56 crore at the box office since its domestic release on May 5. While West Bengal imposed a ban on the film, other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh have declared it tax free.


The Kerala government, on the other hand, decided to boycott the movie as a ban was deemed impractical and likely to invite legal consequences. Its Department of Cultural Affairs had planned to seek legal advice to explore the possibility of a ban, but decided against it as the petition against the film was not accepted by the Supreme Court. In addition, there was no clarity on whether a State can ban a film cleared by the Censor Board.

Read: The Kerala Story Review | A polarising story not backed by strong facts

West Bengal

The West Bengal government has banned the screening of the film in the state stating that it may cause law and order problems. The Supreme Court will hear on May 12 a plea by the producers of controversial multilingual film against the ban on screening of the film by the West Bengal government.

Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association has stopped the screening of the movie as “a precautionary measure” to protect the theatre properties from groups which are against the movie.

Madhya Pradesh

The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government was among the first to give a tax-free status to the controversial Bollywood film. Meanwhile, the Congress claimed on Wednesday that the tax free status was rolled back by the government as films with an 'A' certificate from the Censor Board cannot be exempted from entertainment tax.

Uttar Pradesh

The Yogi Adityanath has quashed the entertainment tax levied on the movie.

The film's team, including producer Vipul Shah, lead actress Adah Sharma and director Sudipto Sen, met Adityanath following the announcement. The CM and his cabinet colleagues are expected to attend a special screening of the film at the Lok Bhawan on Friday.


Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday has also declared the film tax-free in the state.


The Uttarakhand government has also declared the movie tax-free. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami watched "The Kerala Story" along with his wife, cabinet members and party colleagues and recommended it to everyone, saying the film promotes awareness about religious conversion and terrorism.

The film hit theatres on May 5. Photos: YouTube stills


Banning the movie 'Kerala Story' will not serve any purpose as the film is not against any community but against terrorism, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Thursday. Sarma watched the movie with his family members and cabinet colleagues at a multiplex in Guwahati and appealed to the people of Assam to watch the film with their families, particularly with girl children.

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