India High Commission in Canada has urged local officials to take action against the poster of the documentary film ‘Kali’ that depicts a woman dressed as Hindu goddess Kali smoking a cigarette. The poster has sparked anger in India, and more than one FIRs have been lodged against the film director Leena Manimekalai.
“We have received complaints from leaders 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 Aga Khan Museum, Toronto,” said the High Commission in a statement.
“Our consulate general in Toronto has conveyed their concerns to the organisers 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 organisers to withdraw all such proactive material,” read the statement.
Describing her film as a “performance documentary”, Ms Manimekalai said, “Super thrilled to share the launch of my recent film – today at Aga Khan Museum as part of its “Rhythms of Canada”.
The tweet sparked anger among many Hindus in India and worldwide, who have accused her of offending their religious sentiments. Ms Manimekalai’s name was trending on social media in India on Monday.
The filmmaker is currently studying in Canada. She told the BBC that the goddess she depicts in her film “champions humanity and embraces diversity”.
“As a poet and filmmaker, I embody Kaali in my own independent vision,” she said.
Speaking to the quint, the Mudrai-born filmmaker said,” It really shows the deteriorating socio-political condition in India. The country is sinking into a dark hole of hate and bigotry. These trolls are not only after my artistic freedom but also academic freedom. If I give away my freedom, fearing this mindless mob mafia, I will give away everyone’s freedom. So I will keep it, come what may”.