Kaali director Leena Manimekalai has been at the center of controversy ever since a poster of her documentary film showcasing a woman dressed as Goddess Kaali and smoking a cigarette has gone viral on social media. This has created outrage and condemnation throughout the country as it is being deemed as hurting religious sentiments. As Manimekalai continues to face trouble over the film poster, an old tweet of her about PM Narendra Modi has also resurfaced.
In the said tweet, dating back to September 13, 2013, Manimekalai wrote, “I will surrender my passports, rationcard, pancard and my citizenship if ever Modi becomes this country’s PM in my lifetime. I swear (sic).” As this old tweet was brought back, the criticism she has been facing has multiplied.
Kaali poster shows a woman dressed in the costume of Goddess Kaali. She is seen smoking a cigarette in the photo. Along with her usual accouterments of a trishul (trident) and sickle, the actor playing the goddess is also shown wielding the LGBTQ+ community’s pride flag.
After the controversy erupted over the Goddess’ portrayal on the film poster, social media platform Twitter has pulled down filmmaker Manimekalai’s tweet about her documentary Kaali, in response to “a legal demand”. The Delhi Police and the Uttar Pradesh Police filed separate FIRs against Manimekalai over the controversial poster.
Kaali was showcased as part of the ‘Under the Tent’ project at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Under attack for the poster, Manimekalai had on Monday said she will continue to use her voice fearlessly till she is alive.
“I have nothing to lose. Till the time I live, I wish to live with a voice that speaks what I believe without fear. If the price for that is my life, it can be given,” she wrote in a tweet in Tamil in response to an article on the controversy. The filmmaker also urged people to watch the documentary to understand the context behind the poster.
(With inputs from news agencies)