London, May 15: Although several media houses have confidently claimed that UK has cancelled the screening of 'The Kerala Story', the fact is that the screening has merely been postponed. The postponement is owed to the BBFC's delay in classifying the movie for the audience.
According to reports, 'The Kerala Story' was planned to be released in the UK on May 12. However, it has been deferred supposedly due to delays caused by the British Board of Film Certification ( BBFC ). The news came to the front when a British cinema operator said that the screening of the film was cancelled for the day as it didn't receive an age rating on time for the film's release on May 12.
The BBFC took to their official Twitter handle to inform people that 'The Kerala Story' is presently undergoing through their classification process. They further added that the film will be available for screening in the UK after receiving age rating and content advice. The BBFC tweet read, "The Kerala Story is still going through our classification process. Once the film has received a BBFC age rating and content advice, it will be available to be screened in UK cinemas."
Despite of the BBFC's clarification that the movie is merely being delayed for its screening in UK and not cancelled, several media houses are circulating the news that screening of the movie has been cancelled in the UK, which is absolutely not true. The theme of the movie definitely becomes a sensitive topic for UK, considering the hostilities of Hindu - Muslim relations in the region. UK has earlier witnessed serious setback to Hindu - Muslim relations in the British society. Thus, it can be a potential reason for BBFC's time-consuming decision making for classifying the movie for the audience in UK.
Several netizens have questioned the delay of 'The Kerala Story's release in the UK, since the BBFC has failed to reason the delay. The board no matter has assured that the movie will be screened once it is out of the process of classification, it has not provided substantial reasoning for why has the board been incapable of performing their job in time.
In one of the replies to the BBFC's tweet, a user has questioned "The question is, why the delay? This is a serious movie that explores how young girls might be groomed to join outfits like ISIS. Surely BBFC is not delaying as part of its move to appease to the extremists?" In another reply a user mentions, "These delays should be raised with 'Lord' Patel, who appears to be on the Board of Classification."
Pt Satish K Sharma, author of the book 'Caste, Conversion, a Colonial Conspiracy,' has tweeted about the issue quoting that "The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), which usually certifies a movie in one viewing (one day) has been sitting on a movie that creates awareness against ISIS, for three days." The author has went on saying that, "How many Shamima Begums needs to come out of the UK for BBFC to take the threat ISIS seriously? Do the life of innocent girls from our great Island nation does not matter?"
Advocate Karan Kataria has tweeted regarding the issue stating that 'Artistic expression should be celebrated, not stifled'. He has questioned the board about censorship and freedom of expression, the two important topics that had surfaced when the BBC documentary was outlawed in India.