Director Leena Manimekalai courts controversy with poster of her ‘Kaali’ film

NEW DELHI / TORONTO, Jul 4: A poster for a documentary directed by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has drawn flak on social media for hurting religious sentiments with the depiction of Goddess Kali.

The Madurai-born, Toronto-based filmmaker had earlier taken to Twitter to share a poster of her film which depicted a woman dressed in a costume portraying the goddess and smoking. A flag of the LGBT community is seen in the background. The film was part of the “Rhythms of Canada” segment at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, according to a tweet by the filmmaker.

“Super thrilled to share the launch of my recent film – today at @AgaKhanMuseum as part of its ‘Rhythms of Canada’. Feeling pumped with my CREW,” Leena tweeted.

The portrayal of Goddess Kali in the poster did not go down well with a section of social media users who have demanded the poster be withdrawn.

Some even demanded strict action against her and the hashtag ‘#ArrestLeenaManimekal’ is trending on Twitter.

“Leena Manimekalai a filmmaker portraying Hindu God as cigarettes smokers. She is Insulting Maa Kaali,” a Twitterati wrote.

Some even demanded strict action against her.

A lawyer from Delhi, Vineet Jindal, registered a complaint against Leena over the controversial poster. He has demanded a ban on the objectionable photo and the clip from the documentary

After facing flak over her poster, Leena took to Twitter and defended herself.
Urging people to choose ‘love over hate’ amid the negative feedback, she tweeted, “The film revolves around the events that take place one evening, when Kali appears and strolls the streets of Toronto. If you see the picture, don’t put the hashtag “arrest Leena manimekalai” and put the hashtag ‘love you Leena manimekalai.’ 

Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that the government will think about banning the Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary Kaali in the state as it contains insulting remarks about Goddess Kaali.

Mishra said, “Maa Kaali’s insult will not be tolerated, strict action will be taken. We will ask for the registration of an FIR. We will also think about getting this film banned in MP. Strict action will be taken if the posters are not removed.” A massive controversy has erupted over the poster of Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary Kaali.

The Toronto-based Aga Khan Museum, which landed in trouble for the inappropriate depiction of Hindu Gods, has expressed deep regret for “inadvertently causing offence” to members of the Hindu and other faiths.

In a statement, the museum said Toronto Metropolitan University brought together works from students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, as part of Canadian multiculturalism for the project ‘Under the Tent.’ The museum said one of 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu community.

An India-born parliamentarian from Canada, Chandra Arya said that anti-Hindu and anti-India forces have joined hands in Canada.

The Canadian parliamentarian, who originally hails from Karnataka, made these remarks in connection with an offensive poster by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai on Hindu goddess Kaali that has created outrage and condemnation throughout the country.

“Painful to see Kaali poster by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai. Past few years, traditional anti-Hindu and anti-India groups in Canada have joined forces resulting in Hindu phobic articles in the media and attacks on our temples,” Chandra Arya stated on his social media handle.

He also said that an apology from the Aga Khan Museum “is welcome and appreciated” in connection with the poster.

The offensive poster has created outrage in India. Goddess Kaali is revered across India and represents the powerful spirit which finishes off evil.