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Movie poster shows Goddess Kali smoking cigarette, public demands her arrest

A documentary poster directed by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has drawn the attention of netizens online after an outrageous crowd called out for her arrest. The poster depicts Hindu Goddess Kali smoking a cigarette which has hurt many sentiments. The Madurai-born and Toronto-based filmmaker recently shared a poster showing how a woman dressed in a costume is portrayed as the goddess Kali who is smoking. If you see the poster closely, an LGBTQ community Pride flag can be seen in the distance in the background. The film was part of the “Rythm of Canada” segment at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, a tweet by the filmmaker said. 

 After the devotees all around the world started boycotting the poster, the popular hashtag for the arrest of Leena Manimekalai also prevailed on Twitter. People not only criticized the actor but also demanded her immediate arrest and abolishment of the nasty poster. After the situation went out of hand, Leena also shouted out to the people and asked them to choose love over hate. However, she received backlash for not only acting as Kali but for producing and directing the film. Some of Canada’s top cinema students were told by the Toronto Metropolitan University to participate in a camp where they explore all the film genres inspired by India’s diverse and colorful culture. The students replied that they contributed to the film ‘Kali’ due to its eclectic approach. 

In the movie, the main character wanders around the streets of Toronto and explores her way. She took to Twitter and explained it in an excerpt, “The film revolves around the events that occur 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’.” After the controversy went hiking, Leena stated that people need to choose good over evil, as she responded to the criticism. 

Who is Leena Manimekalai? 

She is an acclaimed actress, poet, and director who has produced a dozen of films in several genres like documentary, fiction, and experimental poem films. She also has a niche in publishing poetic anthologies. She has received significant recognition in international as well as national film festivals through participation, mentions, and best picture prizes. In her recent poetry collection (The Most Beautiful First Woman in the World), Ulagin Azhagiya Muthal Penn, Leena came out as bisexual. 

India has been sensitive about its sentimental religious issues related to cinema; many artists have been trolled for bringing or painting a certain religion in a bad light. Shows like Saif Ali’s ‘Tandav’ portrayed Hindu Gods in a poor light, and Director Anurag Basu’s ‘Ludo’ faced backlash due to promoting hatred against the Hindu community. 


By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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