Exclusive interview: ‘The Kerala Story’ is way bigger than politics and religion Vs religion, says Adah Sharma

The actor portrays the role of Shalini Unnikrishnan/Fatima Ba in the controversial movie which is scheduled for release on 5 May.

ByShashiprasad S M

Published May 02, 2023 | 2:00 PM Updated May 02, 2023 | 2:29 PM

adah sharma the kerala story

Ever since the trailer of The Kerala Story was released, there has been a huge hue and cry against its release across the nation, especially in Kerala.

Several political parties in Kerala, including the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) party, the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), and the Congress party openly opposed the film. Some even called for a ban on its release.

Amidst the political storm the movie has kicked off, a reward of ₹1 crore for anyone who can substantiate the allegations made in the film, has also been announced.

adah sharma still the kerala story

Adah Sharma in a still from ‘The Kerala Story’. (Twitter)

While the heated debate over The Kerala Story continues, South First catches up with its lead actor Adah Sharma to know more about the film, the buzz it created, and her journey thus far. Excerpts from the exclusive interview:

Q. From suspense thrillers to action, you have acted in different genres in multiple languages so far. And now, you’re doing a “realistic” subject. Tell us about your journey as an actor.

A. I’m excited. Everyone, including the audience who has been a constant support in my career, wants to see me do so well. Yes, it is my first movie based on a real subject. So, I cannot wait for the audience to watch it.

Q. What was your first reaction after hearing the script of The Kerala Story?

A. I was moved by learning about the hardships these women (victims) went through. Everyone asked me to do a horror movie after 1920. But I felt, “This is it!” The Kerala Story is a human horror.

Related: Censor Board gives “A” nod to The Kerala Story; protests intensify

Q. Tell us about your role and how challenging was it to perform. Did it require any special preparation to play Shalini Unnikrishnan and Fatima Ba?

Actor Adah Sharma

Actor Adah Sharma insists that ‘The Kerala Story’ doesn’t depict Kerala in a bad light. (Facebook)

A. I cannot say much about the character now. But yes, there are some challenging sequences. I’m waiting for people to watch The Kerala Story.

Many scenes make me wonder how I pulled them off. But I could do it because of the immense support from an excellent team and a kind and understanding director.

Q. Ever since the release of the trailer, some people, including a few political party leaders, have termed The Kerala Story a “propaganda” film and have also been seeking a ban. What’s your reaction to it?

A. Many people in higher positions have commented against The Kerala Story, after watching the two-minute trailer.

My parents always asked me to respect my elders. So, with due respect to all of them, I hope they can take two hours out of their busy schedule and watch the movie.

I’m sure they will see and realise that we have not shown Kerala in a bad light.

Q. Did you happen to meet or interact with any of the victims before or during the process of filming The Kerala Story?

A. Yes, I did. I met a few of them. One of them, after watching the film, sent me a message complimenting my work. I will cherish it forever.

adah sharma the kerala story poster

A poster of ‘The Kerala Story’. (Twitter)

Q. During a recent interaction with your fans on social media, you said the film is not anti-religion, but it is against terror organisations. Also, it is about victimised girls. Can you elucidate?

A. Our film is about terrorism versus humanity. It is about life and death. It is way bigger than politics and religion versus religion.

Related: ‘No large-scale IS recruitments in Kerala’

Q. Following the trailer of the movie, your realistic performance has been appreciated a lot by many. How does it feel to be appreciated for such work?

A. It feels so wonderful that the whole nation is rooting for me. Not just the nation, but the whole world because these girls (victims) are brainwashed, drugged and sent to terror organisations from the USA and the UK as well. So, we are getting congratulatory messages from across the world.

Q. Did you research to know the hidden truth, as it claims, or did you ever come across such instances personally?

A. My director (Sudipto Sen) did the research for seven years and he provided me with the information. Also, there are a lot of videos of victims and their parents available in the public domain even to this date.

Q. Living a real character in front of the camera is a task in itself. Did it ever personally affect you in any manner?

the kerala story film

A poster of ‘The Kerala Story’. (Twitter)

A. I think it made me more grateful. I did some tough scenes but I could come home to my bed, have a shower, and eat good food.

While my family and friends support me in real life, my character in the film is all alone with no phone to contact anyone.

Related: The Kerala Story faces a ₹1 crore challenge

Q. Why should one watch The Kerala Story, especially after a section called it a propaganda film and an attempt to show Kerala in poor light?

A. I promise you one thing — we have not depicted Kerala in a bad light.

Q. What are your other projects?

A. I have four Hindi films, one Telugu film and an international project that I’m currently shooting for.