The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it is helpless if theatre owners across the state have decided to stop the screening of the film ‘The Kerala Story’ within two days of its release owing to reasons including poor audience response.
“Multiplex owners took the decision to stop screening the film from May 7 in view of the criticism received by it/lack of well known actors, poor performance and poor audience response,” the State said.
The movie in Hindi, the state said, was in fact released on May 5 in 19 multiplexes.
Tamil Nadu govt responds to 'shadow ban' claims
“The multiplex owners themselves have cited poor box office collections owing to the absence of any popular stars in the film as the reason to stop the screening of the film… The exhibitors have themselves stopped the screening of the movie due to poor audience response and the government cannot do anything to increase the audience patronage for the film,” the state emphasised.
In fact, the Supreme Court had itself, in a hearing in early May, said the people would ultimately decide if a film was worth a watch or not.
The court had touched upon the money ‘sunk' into the project by the film’s makers and the labour put in by the actors.
Makers trying to gain publicity under pretext of SC petition
At the time, multiple petitioners had argued in the apex court that the film demonised the entire Muslim community, particularly Muslim youth, with “malicious propaganda” that girls in Kerala were lured through ‘love jihad’ and trafficked to West Asia to join ISIS.
Tamil Nadu said the filmmakers were trying to gain publicity for the movie under the garb of filing a petition in the Supreme Court, accusing the State of imposing a “shadow or implicit” ban on the release of the film on May 5.
The state said the filmmakers’ allegation that the government “informally signalled the theatre owners that it will not support in case of any untoward incident” if the film was screened was “baseless”.
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