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


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 @AgaKhanMuseum as part of its “Rhythms of Canada”Link: made this performance doc as a cohort of @TorontoMet @YorkUFGSFeeling pumped with my CREW
— Leena Manimekalai (@LeenaManimekali) July 2, 2022
“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Goddess Kaali in the poster did not go down well with a section of social media users who have demanded the poster be withdrawn.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”.”

A screengrab of Leena Manimekalai’s tweet

Several films and shows have in the past got into trouble for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Anurag Basu’s ‘Ludo’ faced Twitterati’s ire for purportedly promoting ‘Hinduphobic’ content in the movie.

In 2021, Saif Ali Khan-starrer web series ‘Taandav’ raked up a row for allegedly creating a possibility of religious tension by portraying Hindu Gods in a bad light.