Filmmaker’s ‘Smoking Kaali’ poster draws flak, withdraw provocative material says Indian High Commission

A documentary film’s poster, directed by Indian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, has sparked outrage for hurting Hindu sentiments with its depiction of Goddess Kali.  

Leena had shared the poster of her upcoming documentary film on social media set to debut as part of Rhythms of Canada at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. 

The poster depicts a woman dressed as Goddess Kali smoking a cigarette. The LGBT community’s pride flag can also be seen in the background. 

The poster sparked outrage among netizens who demanded the poster be withdrawn. The hashtag ‘ArrestLeenaManimekalai’ also trended on Twitter.  

Gau Mahasabha leader Ajay Gautam sent a complaint to Delhi Police and the Home Ministry against the film and its poster and an FIR was also registered in Delhi against Manimekalai for hurting religious sentiments. According to media reports an advocate, Vineet Jindal also 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 saying by a television channel. 

Responding to criticism, Menamekalai said she had nothing to lose. “Till the time I live I wish to live with the voice that speaks what I believe without fear. If the price for that is my life it can be given,” Leena wrote in a Twitter post in Tamil. 

Following complaints from the leaders of the Hindu community in Canada, the Indian High Commission in Ottawa on Monday urged the organizers to withdraw all provocative material. The Indian High Commission said, “Our Consulate General in Toronto has conveyed the concerns to the organizers of the event. We are also informed that several Hindu groups have approached authorities in Canada to take action. We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organizers to withdraw all such provocative material.” 

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