NEW DELHI: Leena Manimekalai is a Madurai-born, Toronto-based filmmaker who has been caught up in a bitter controversy over the poster for her upcoming documentary Goddess Kali as a smoker. The controversy erupted after she took to Twitter to share a poster of her film, which showed a woman in a costume depicting the goddess smoking. A flag of the LGBT community can be seen in the background.
I am very excited to share the launch of my latest film – today at @AgaKhanMuseum as part of his “Rhythms of Canada”
The depiction of the goddess Kali on the poster was not well received Part of social media users who called for the poster to be taken back. Some even called for a crackdown on them and the hashtag ‘#ArrestLeenaManimekal’ has been trending on Twitter ever since.
A police complaint was also filed against the filmmaker for her illegitimate portrayal of the goddess Kaali, who allegedly offends the feelings of Hindus. “A complaint has been filed for hurting the feelings of the Hindu society Leena Manimekalaithe producer of the documentary ‘Kaali’,” Delhi police said, according to ANI.
A complaint was lodged with Amrutha Guguloth, Deputy Commissioner of the Delhi District Police. The complainants called for Leena to be punished by taking strict action under strict sections of the law, including Section 295A of the IPC, Section 79 of the IT Act 2000 and the Prohibition of Indecent Depictions of Women Act 1986.
Who is Leena Manimekalai?
Leena Manimekalai is a Madurai-born, Toronto-based Indian filmmaker, poet and actress. Her works include five published collections of poetry and a dozen films in a variety of genres, including documentaries, feature films and experimental poetry films. She has been recognized for her participation, mentions and best film awards at many international and national film festivals.
Leena is from Srivilliputtur region. She finished her secondary school at Holy Cross Convent in 1995. She continued her education at Madurai Kamarajar University in Tamil Nadu. In 2005 she completed an EU Fellowship in Media and Conflict Resolution. She also completed a PSBT Film Scholarship for Tamil Women’s Poetry and a Commonwealth Scholarship for Women in Film in 2008. In 2012 she graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a degree in visual ethnography.
She currently resides in Canada. She is also the owner of Leena Manimekalai Productions, a production company. Leena has directed several documentaries and her notable works include Mathamma, Parai, Breaking The Shackles, Love Lost, A Hole in the Bucket, Goddesses, Sengadal, My Mirror is the Door and Song of Resistance to name a few.
She has received numerous awards and accolades including the Silver Trophy for Best Documentary at the Europe Film Festival (2004), the Independent Diaspora Festivals in Paris and in Norway (2005), the Golden Conch at the Mumbai International Film Festival (2008), and others .