Monday, 5 December, 2022
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Complaints filed against Canada-based director as poster shows woman dressed as Kaali smoking

Leena Manimekalai had tweeted the film's poster Saturday after its launch at the ‘Rhythms of Canada Festival’ at Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

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New Delhi: At least two complaints were filed with the Delhi Police Monday against Toronto-based filmmaker Leena Manimekalai for a poster of her new documentary film ‘Kaali’ that shows a woman dressed as the Hindu goddess smoking a cigarette.

The poster, which was tweeted by Manimekalai Saturday, also shows a pride flag in the background. The film was launched during the recently-held ‘Rhythms of Canada Festival’ at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

Her tweet soon led to a massive uproar on social media, with netizens accusing her of hurting religious sentiments and demands to arrest the director trending on Twitter. While one user said the poster was “insulting” the Hindu goddess, another said, “it was mind numbingly derogatory”.



Speaking to ThePrint Monday, Manimekalai said, “My films and poetry have gone through both constitutional and extra constitutional censorship. I have been witch hunted for my political expressions.”

‘Have nothing to lose’ 

One complaint against Manimekalai was filed by Delhi-based lawyer Vineet Jindal “for her intentional act to hurt Hindu religious sentiments”.

Another complaint was filed with the Delhi Police and the home ministry by Gau Mahasabha leader Ajay Gautam who has called for an FIR against the filmmaker and a ban on the film.

Following the furore, Manimekalai, who is also known for her films such as ‘Parai’, based on violence against Dalit women, and ‘My Mirror is On the Road’, tweeted saying, “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.'”

She has also been quoted by the BBC Tamil as saying, “I have nothing to lose. I want to be with a voice that speaks without fear of anything until it is. If the price is my life, I will give it”.

(with inputs from Tina Das)

Also read: ‘A’ in Rajasthan but ‘U/A’ in Kerala: Film-makers want censorship to be sensitivity-centric


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