Kamal Haasan, the veteran actor, expressed his views on the ongoing controversy surrounding the film ‘The Kerala Story’ during a media interaction in Abu Dhabi. Haasan, who was in the city to receive the Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema award at IIFA 2023, labeled the film as propaganda and questioned its authenticity. The controversy erupted when the film’s trailer claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had gone missing and joined the terrorist group ISIS, a statement that triggered a heated political debate.
Haasan emphasized the importance of presenting true stories that genuinely resonate with the audience, rather than merely labeling them as such. He argued that a diversity of cinema, including smaller movies, should be encouraged and celebrated, as they often connect with audiences on a deeper level. The actor attributed his own success to smaller films that eventually gained recognition from the audience.
Earlier, the West Bengal government had imposed a ban on ‘The Kerala Story,’ but the Supreme Court intervened and stayed the ban, stating that it was not tenable. The court also directed the filmmakers to include a proper disclaimer clarifying the unsubstantiated figure of 32,000 mentioned in the film.
Meanwhile, the IIFA celebrations were in full swing, with Sobha IIFA Rocks being hosted by Farah Khan Kunder and Rajkummar Rao. The event featured captivating performances by renowned singers such as Amit Trivedi, Badshah, Sunidhi Chauhan, Nucleya, and Sukhbir Singh. The highlight of the evening was an exclusive showcase by leading celebrity designer Manish Malhotra, who was celebrating 25 years in the fashion industry.
The grand finale, Nexa IIFA Awards, was scheduled for the following day, with Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal as hosts. Along with Kamal Haasan receiving the Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema award, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza were also set to be honored for their contributions to regional cinema, and Manish Malhotra would be recognized for his outstanding achievements in fashion in cinema.
As the controversies surrounding ‘The Kerala Story’ continued to unfold, the IIFA event provided a platform to celebrate the talents and achievements of individuals in the Indian film industry, showcasing the diversity and creativity that makes Indian cinema thrive.