Director Leena Manimekalai courts controversy for film poster showing Goddess Kaali smoking

The film was part of the "Rhythms of Cananda" segment at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, according to a tweet by the filmmaker.

Published: 04th July 2022 03:07 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th July 2022 05:16 PM   |  A+A-

Director Leena Manimekalai

Leena Manimekalai and the poster of 'Kaali'. (Photos | Twitter)

By Agencies

NEW DELHI: 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 Kaali.

The Madurai-born, Toronto-based filmmaker had earlier taken to Twitter to share a poster of her documentary film 'Kaali' 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 Cananda" 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 @AgaKhanMuseumas part of its 'Rhythms of Canada'. Feeling pumped with my CREW," Leena tweeted.

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Goddess Kaali in the poster did not go down well with a section of social media users who have demanded the poster be withdrawn.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

After receiving flak on social media, Leena has restricted comments on her Instagram.

She took to Twitter to post in Tamil: "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" but put the hashtag "love you Leena manimekalai"."

"I have nothing to lose. Till the time I live, I wish to live with a voice that speaks what I believe without fear. If the price for that is my life, it can be given," Manimekalai wrote in another Twitter post in Tamil in response to an article on the controversy.

A screengrab of Leena Manimekalai's tweet

Manimekalai, who made her feature directorial debut with 2021's 'Maadathy - An Unfairy Tale', isn't the first filmmaker to find herself in trouble over religious references.

In 2017, for instance, filmmaker Sanal Kumar Sasidharan courted controversy over the title of his Malayalam film 'Sexy Durga', which explored religious divides in Kerala society.

The film was later rechristened 'S Durga'.

Last year, Prime Video's political saga 'Tandav' was at the centre of trouble for a scene depicting Lord Shiva in a college theatre programme. The scene was eventually dropped and the streamer issued an unconditional apology.

 Anurag Basu's 'Ludo' faced Twitterati's ire for purportedly promoting 'Hinduphobic' content in the movie.

'Kaali' is yet to be shown to Indian audiences.

(With ANI and PTI inputs)


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