'The Kerala Story' that hit the theaters on May 5, is still running successfully at the box office. The film stars Adah Sharma, Yogita Bihani, Siddhi Idnani, and Sonia Balani. For the unversed, the Sudipto Sen directorial is the second-best earner of 2023 after Shah Rukh Khan’s 'Pathaan'. The film has minted over Rs 200 crore and still going strong. Vipul Shah, the producer who is also the co-writer and creative director of 'The Kerala Story' is glad that more people are watching the film either in theatres or the pirated versions and a conversation has finally started.
Vipul, in an interview with Outlook, has opened up about his recently released film that has been doing well at the box office despite criticism and expressed his happiness that the message is reaching a large audience. He also reacted to Kamal Haasan and Naseeruddin Shah calling 'The Kerala Story' a 'propaganda' film.
Shah requested both actors to watch the film and then criticise it. He said, "Naseer bhai and Kamal ji, they are very very senior and both are legends of our cinema. We respect them too much to really comment on their comments. However, I would just like to request both of them to go and see the film, and after seeing the film if they still want to make the same comment that will be their right. In any case, I feel that if I have the right to make a film everybody who doesn't agree with the film has the equal right to criticize it. That right can't be taken away from anybody. In the democratic world that we live in, we shouldn't take dissent or disagreement, or criticism as opposition that needs to be shut down. I think we need to have enough openness within ourselves to say, 'Ok, you see the film and talk to me'. I have happy to sit across the table and discuss various aspects of the film that you may agree or disagree with and that is the sign of a healthy democracy."
He added, "I have absolutely no problem with anybody criticising this film and if you look at the ratio, out of 100 people that are watching the film three or four will not agree with the film but 95 or 96 people agree with it, they love and take it home with them."
The 'Aankhen' director also said, "In our democracy, if you get 40 percent vote you make a majority government. So, 95 percent is a pretty staggeringly high number of approval for any film for that matter. No film in the world can get a 100 percent approval rating. You will find people who even didn't like 'Avatar'. So, you can't change that and that freedom should be available to everybody. So, I am perfectly ok with their criticism. I just want them to see the film and then criticise. That's all."
Asked about the box office numbers, the filmmaker said, "I am over the moon but for the reason slightly different than the numbers is the number of people that have watched the film whether in theatres or over the pirated copies but in theatres, approximately 1.75 to 2 crore people have already seen the film and to me, that is the main purpose of the film that as many people in this country as possible should see the film. And because these numbers are so staggering and so high and the conversation that the film has created is so strong and massive I think the film has been able to achieve the target to a certain extent. Of course, I want the entire country to see the film and we shall try our best to reach out to every individual in whatever way possible. But yes we are very happy with the number of people actually watching the film and loving it."
Vipul also said that he is not merely the producer of 'The Kerala Story' but also the co-writer and creative director of the film. So, he was doing much more than a producer in it and the fact that it has been able to connect with millions of people at the level which it has is very very satisfying to him and he thinks the conversation is not going to stop so soon. "This conversation will continue and now this particular subject cannot be brushed under the carpet in this country and this will remain in our nation's consciousness. So, in that sense, the film has done pretty well and from the creative point of view and as well from a point of a producer, it's been an extremely satisfying journey," he added.