Bengaluru: Even before the dust has settled on the Padmaavat controversy, a petition has been filed in the Kerala high court seeking a direction to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) not to clear Malayalam film Aami, alleging that it promotes love jihad.

The film is based on the life of late Malayalam writer Kamala Surayya. Born as Kamala Das in a Hindu family, she converted to Islam at the age of 68. The film, starring actor Manju Warrier as Surayya, is expected to reach cinemas on 9 February.

The court, which is yet to admit the petition, issued notices to the parties concerned, including the director and the state government, on Tuesday.

Lawyer K.P. Ramachandran’s petition claimed the film is intended to be a “catalystic agent" for promoters of love jihad, an alleged practice where Muslim men seduce, wed and convert Hindu women.

This film has come at a time when “enormous cases" of love jihad have been reported across Kerala, the petition claimed.

Kamala Das, who was also known as Madhavikkuty, converted to Islam in 1999. The conversion and her tell-all memoirs called My Story had attracted controversy even then. Her remarks on Hinduism after her conversion had angered right-wing organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), forcing her to ultimately seek police protection.

Incidentally, Kummanam Rajashekaran, who led the protests back then as state president of VHP, is now state president of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Canadian author Merrily Weisbord wrote in her book Love Queen of Malabar that the conversion was a result of the writer’s romantic relationship with a Muslim politician who did not keep his word on marrying Surayya post-conversion.

Ramachandran’s petition claims the filmmaker, National Award-winning director Kamal, has omitted these parts “with the intention of justifying Love Jihad".

“The director has no right to make such a film rewriting history and real incidents that happened in the life of Madhavikutty according to his own whims and fancies under the guise of filmmaking freedom... The very purpose of releasing such a film having a link with religious conversion by the scriptwriter-cum-director at this crucial period is ulterior and he is using the position of the president of Kerala State Chalachithra Academy for the purpose," The New Indian Express quoted the petition as saying on Wednesday.

“The wrong and contradictory portrayal of Madhavikutty, justifying forceful religious conversion, would certainly inject a wrong message in the mind of the audience.The release of the film will be against the interest of the integrity of the nation and security of the state," the petition added.

Kamal said over the phone that he did not understand the logic behind the petition. “Only a few of my associates have seen the movie so far. So clearly the petitioner has moved the court without seeing the movie. How can he judge the content then?"

He confirmed that the regional office of CBFC has already cleared the movie with a U/A rating, pending the issuance of the certificate from the central office of the body.

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