‘Kaali’ row: FIR lodged against director; Indian High Commission in Ottawa demands withdrawal of poster

Madurai-born documentary filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, now based in Toronta, had shared a poster of her new film on social media depicting Kali as a source of women power

Leena Manimekalai (File; Wikipdia)
Leena Manimekalai (File; Wikipdia)
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NH Political Bureau

Following uproar over a poster of the documentary film ‘Kaali’ in which the character depicting goddess Kali was featured smoking, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa has asked the Canadian authorities to withdraw the ‘provocative material’.

“We have received complaints from the leader of the Hindu community in Canada about disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods on the poster of a film showcased as part of the ‘Under the Tent’ project at the Agha Khan museum, Toronto,” read the letter issued by the Indian High Commission.

“We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw all such provocative materials,” it added.

Earlier in the day, an FIR was registered in Delhi against NRI director Leena Manimekalai for ‘hurting religious sentiments’. An advocate, Vineet Jindal had filed a complaint against her for the “controversial poster”, claiming that it was “offensive and objectionable”.

“The way this lady has portrayed Goddess Kali smoking and having an LGBT flag in the background is completely offensive and objectionable. I have filed a complaint against this lady and the Delhi Police have lodged an FIR against her,” Jindal was quoted as saying by a television channel.

Madurai-born documentary filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, now based in Toronta, had shared a poster of her new film on social media depicting Kali as a source of women power.

Soon afterwards, Hindutva trolls launched an attack on Leena for ‘disrespecting Hindu gods’, with the #ArrestLeenaManimekalai tag trending on Twitter.

Reacting to the controversy, Leena, however, said that the film revolves around events that take place one evening when Goddess Kali appears and strolls on the streets of Toronto.

Saying that she wanted to be with a voice that speaks without fear, Leena in a tweet in Tamil said, “If the price is my life, I will give it.”

“For me, Kali is an abode of strength, freedom and truth. She is an undeterred spirit,” said Leena.

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