The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has not shadow-banned the film The Kerala Story, Bar and Bench reported.

The state government said that the film was removed from theatres due to a poor response by the audience. It made the statement in response to a petition by the filmmakers alleging that there was a de facto ban on the movie in Tamil Nadu.

The film, directed by Sudipto Sen, hit the screens on May 5. It claims to depict how women from Kerala were converted to Islam and recruited by Islamic State terrorist group. The filmmakers had initially claimed that 32,000 women from Kerala had joined the Islamic State, but when asked for evidence, they altered the trailer to state the movie was a “compilation of the true stories of three young girls”.

On May 7, the Tamil Nadu Multiplex Association had announced that it will stop the screening of The Kerala Story in the state, citing potential law and order problems. The president of Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association, M Subramaniam, had told PTI that the few multiplexes that had shown the film had decided to withdraw it.

The Tamil Nadu government told the Supreme Court on Monday that it had provided adequate police protection for screenings of the film despite a backlash from several groups in the state, reported Live Law. It claimed that the petitioners moved the Supreme Court to seek publicity by making false and sweeping allegations.

“The theatre owners had voluntarily stopped screening the film on May 7 onwards due to poor performance of actors/poor response to the movie or lack of well-known actors in the movie,” the government said in its affidavit.