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Friday, August 19, 2022

‘Kaali’ film row: Indian High Commission asks Canadian authorities to remove ‘provocative material’

In the poster of Toronto-based filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s ‘Kaali’, a woman dressed as the Hindu goddess is seen smoking a cigarette with a pride flag in the background.

The poster shared by the filmmaker shows a woman dressed as the Hindu Goddess Kali smoking a cigarette and holding a pride flag. (Source: LeenaManimekalai/Twitter)

With Toronto-based writer-filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s latest work ‘Kaali’ wading into a controversy, the High Commission of India in Ottawa, Canada has asked the authorities there to immediately withdraw all “provocative material”.

Manimekalai, a Madurai-born independent filmmaker critically acclaimed for her works across film festivals, released the poster of her performance documentary on Twitter which showed a woman dressed as the Hindu goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette and holding a pride flag in her hand.

The statement issued by the High Commission of India in Ottawa on July 4 noted that they received complaints from leaders of the Hindu community in Canada about the disrespectful depiction of Hindu deities on the poster of a film showcased as part of the ‘Under the Tent’ project at the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto.

“Our Consulate General in Toronto has conveyed these concerns to the organisers of the event. We are also informed that several Hindu groups have approached authorities in Canada to take action,” the statement read. “We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organisers to withdraw all such provocative material,” it added.

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According to the filmmaker, the film was part of the Rhythms of Canada festival at the Aga Khan Museums in Toronto. “Super thrilled to share the launch of my recent film-today at @AgaKhanMuseum as part of its “Rhythms of Canada”,” she had tweeted on July 2, adding, “Feeling pumped with my CREW”.

The poster drew flak on social media with netizens slamming the filmmaker for allegedly insulting religious sentiments. #ArrestLeenaManimekalai soon began to trend on Twitter.

In an interview to Tamil weekly Vikatan, Manimekalai said the movie revolves around the events that take place one evening when Kaali appears and strolls the streets of Toronto. She said that if those who were protesting against the poster watch the movie, they will use the hashtag ‘love you Leena Manimekalai’ over ‘arrest Leena Manimekalai’.

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Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday registered an FIR against the filmmaker for “disrespectful depiction of Hindu Gods” in her movie ‘Kaali’.

First published on: 05-07-2022 at 01:03:50 pm
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