Goddess Kali Showed Smoking In Film Poster Sparks Outrage

The poster of a documentary film that shows Hindu goddess Kaali smoking a cigarette has sparked anger on social media. Many are calling for the arrest of the filmmaker.

Kaali is a documentary film. The poster of the film shows Hindu goddess Kali smoking a cigarette. The poster has sparked anger on social media. The movie is made by Leena Manimekalai. She is a Madurai-born, Toronto-based filmmaker. At the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, there is a festival called 'Rhythms of Canada' going on. In the festival people show their skill in movies, music, performances, food trucks etc. In one of the segments of the festival, a movie named Kaali was shown. Soon after she shared the poster, Leena Manimekalai was at the receiving end of online backlash. Netizens have alleged that the movie’s poster is an insult to the Hindu goddess and hurts religious sentiments. The poster depicts a woman dressed in the costume of Goddess Kali. She is seen smoking a cigarette in the photo. Along with her usual holy weapons of trishul (trident), and sickle, the actor playing the goddess is shown holding the LGBTQ+ community's pride flag. 


Many are calling for the arrest of the filmmaker Leena Manimekalai. Hashtag #ArrestLeenaManimekalai began trending on the social media platforms. Social media users asked the Aga Khan Museum, where the film was launched, to take it down immediately. A lawyer from Delhi registered a police complaint against Leena over the controversial poster. The maker of the film, Leena Manimekalai, has urged people to watch the movie first before condemning it. She tweeted, “The film talks about the events when Kaali appears in an evening and takes a stroll in the streets of Toronto. Once you watch the movie, you’ll change the hashtag from #ArrestLeenaManimekalai to ‘love you Leena Manimekalai’”. However, even after the filmmakers justification people believe that such a poster has been made as a cheap PR Strategy or as a part of an agenda which targets the hindu religion and its beliefs in particular. The outrage over the film Kaali comes at a time when there has been an international controversy over remarks made on Prophet Muhammad by suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. What do you think about this poster? Do let us know in the comment section below.