‘The Kerala Story’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Where Is Shalini Now?


The Kerala Story, directed by Sudipto Sen, presents a one-dimensional narrative that makes us privy to the plight of the girls in the state of Kerala and promises to be earnest in its approach, though its biggest flaw is that it presents only half-truths. Taking creative liberties is not a sin, but in this case, the film tries to shape your opinion and influence you by painting only half the picture. The performances are earnest, and the agenda of the filmmakers is quite clear. So, let’s find out what happened in The Kerala Story film and if the girls were able to save themselves. 

Spoiler Alert

How did Asifa brainwash the girls? 

Shalini went to study at the National Nursing College, and her mother believed that one day, she would make the family proud. Shalini shared her room with three other girls: Geethanjali, Nimah, and Asifa. Shalini got very close to them since, apart from Asifa, who stayed nearby, all three of them were away from their families for the first time. Asifa introduced the girls to her cousins, Rameez and Abdul, and eventually, they all started spending a lot of quality time together. Asifa was a fanatic when it came to her religious beliefs, and a lot of times, she had these debates where she not only upheld her own religious beliefs but made sure that she demeaned other religions. The girls didn’t like the extreme views she held, but nobody said anything because they just didn’t want to put their energy into something as futile as that. They had better things to do in life, and they wanted to focus on that, but Asifa was there with an agenda. She was running a ring where she brainwashed young girls into converting to Islam and then sent them off to places like Syria and Afghanistan.

Slowly, and in a very shrewd manner, Asifa started sowing the seed of hatred inside the girls, and she started telling them how they would be in a better space holistically if they embraced Islam. Asifa told Rameez and Abdul to plan an attack on the girls, and a group of boys came and molested them. After the incident, Asifa gave a bizarre logic to the girls and told them that if they would have been wearing a hijab, then they wouldn’t have been molested. Nimah held onto her beliefs amidst all this, and she saw that what Asifa was telling them didn’t make sense. However, the situation was not similar for others, and they were somewhat influenced by Asifa’s flawed ideologies. The second step was to make the girls feel that their families were against them and that nothing good could happen if they stayed with them. Geethanjali and Shalini treated their parents very badly, and those people didn’t understand what they had done to deserve such treatment. Geethanjali and Shalini got very close to Rameez and Abdul, not knowing that they were walking straight into a trap. Shalini got pregnant, and Rameez told her that the only way she could now save her image was by converting to Islam and getting married to him. It was the beginning of the end for Shalini, and her poor mother stood there watching her destroy her life. She felt helpless as she could see her daughter walking towards her doom, but Shalini was brainwashed to the extent that she couldn’t see the truth, and she believed whatever Asifa and others told her. 

What happened to Geethanjali Menon? 

In The Kerala Story, we saw that, just like Shalini, even Geethanjali was in love, and the only reason she didn’t get pregnant was because Abdul was impotent. Abdul, too, intended to do a similar thing with Geethanjali, but after a point in time, he realized that he would have to resort to other options. So, he threatened Geethanjali that he would leak her private pictures on the internet if she didn’t marry him and come to Syria. Geethanjali realized, just in time, what these people were up to. She decided that it was not too late for her, and she could still go back to her parents, who were the only people with whom she felt safe. Geethanjali went back to her parents and narrated everything to them. She apologized for her horrible behavior and told them that she was not of a sane mind when she said all those things. Geethanjali believed that everything would get back to normal, but she was wrong. Abdul leaked her pictures, and she just couldn’t face the insults that were hurled at her from all sides. Geethanjali ended up taking her life, and her parents were distraught and didn’t know what they could do to get justice for their girl. 

Was Nimah able to expose the criminals? 

Nimah realized that Asifa and her accomplices were running a racket, but before she could do anything, she was kidnapped and sexually abused by multiple men, innumerable times. She was shattered from within, but she hadn’t lost her will to fight back. She tried to get in touch with Shalini so that she could inform her about what had happened with her and how these people couldn’t be trusted. But Shalini was knee-deep in trouble by then, and she knew that nobody could help her out at that point. Nimah was not ready to let the perpetrators go, and so, together with the parents of Geethanjali and Shalini, she went to the police station to file a formal complaint. The police officer sympathized with her story, but he told her that unless there was concrete evidence to support her claims, they could not take any action. Moreover, whatever the girls had done, they did it on their own will. Obviously, it couldn’t be said that they exercised their free will since they were influenced, but still, at the end of the day, it was difficult to prove such a thing in a court of law. 

Nimah felt helpless when she realized that even the legal justice system couldn’t help her cause, but she was a mighty-spirited girl, and she told the police officer that no matter what lengths she would have to go to, she would find incriminating evidence against Asifa and her group. 

Where is Shalini now? 

In The Kerala Story, we saw that after getting Shalini pregnant, Rameez bailed out on her, as that was the plan all along. He was never going to marry Shalini, but the plan was to put her in a situation where she wouldn’t have any choice but to marry someone. That’s when Ishak came into the picture, and he married Shalini. Shalini was given the name Fatima, and she was first taken to Sri Lanka, then to Pakistan, and then to Afghanistan. Shalini realized what a blunder she had made once she reached Afghanistan. She tried to contact her mother, but the Sharia law prohibited the woman from keeping a mobile phone, which made matters worse for her. The entire area was under the control of ISIS, and the sole purpose of the laws was to treat women like fodder.

During The Kerala Story‘s ending, Shalini somehow managed to escape from captivity after being abused and tortured for several months. Shalini fell unconscious on her way, and later, she was rescued by UN organizations and taken to the UN incarceration center at the Afghan-Iran border. The UN peacekeeping forces sympathized with her, and they offered her whatever help they could, but they had no option but to keep her in the UN-controlled Afghan jail as her extradition back to her homeland was not such an easy process. According to the film, Geethanjali is in the same jail and waiting for the day when she will be able to come back to India and reunite with her mother. The Kerala Story claims that over the past decade approximately 32000 women were abducted by these Terrorist organizations though as of now there is no proof which could corroborate that claim. 

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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