Pune: Tensions Rise at FTII as ‘The Kerala Story’ Screening Tests Artistic Boundaries

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Pune, 20th May 2023: Amidst the glimmering spotlight, film ‘The Kerala Story’ has captivated the hearts of audiences and shattered box office records, amassing a staggering 150 crores within a mere 12 days of its release.

While the film basks in the adulation of its viewers, controversy swirls like a tempest, surrounding its screenplay and sparking bans in certain states. Now, the fervor has reached the hallowed grounds of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, stirring a tempestuous debate among its students.

Within the hallowed halls of FTII, a polarizing rift has emerged in response to ‘The Kerala Story.’ Divisions have arisen as a group of passionate students rally in support of the film, while an opposing faction vehemently protests its very existence. The intensity of emotions boiled over during a screening event on today (May 20), as a group attempted to halt the exhibition of the film. Chants reverberated through the air as students raised banners, expressing their discontent for ‘The Kerala Story,’ and the scene was immortalized through viral videos that circulated like whispers on social media.

Despite the contentious atmosphere, the scheduled screening at FTII commenced, with the luminous cast of the film gracing the occasion. While some students demanded the film’s cancellation, others adamantly insisted on its display, igniting a fiery controversy within the campus.

Amidst this charged backdrop, the film unfolded at the early hour of 9 am. As the enchanting tale unfurled on the silver screen, outside, a chorus of protest echoed, carried by the impassioned voices of dissenting students.

The students of FTII have long been engaged in fervent protests, fighting for various causes that resonate deeply within their artistic souls. Last year, five students faced expulsion due to inadequate attendance and failure to meet academic standards, spurring an eruption of dissent. In solidarity, the FTII Student Union initiated an indefinite strike, fueling the flames of resistance for the past five days. Today marked the fifth day of their hunger strike, coinciding with the fortieth day of their unwavering protest. However, in an unexpected twist, a fresh movement emerged, seeking to halt the exhibition of ‘The Kerala Story.’

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