Kaali poster row: Canada museum cancels screening of Leena Manimekalai documentary 

In a statement released on 5 July, the Aga Khan Museum also extended an apology for hurting Hindu sentiments. 

ByUmar Sharieef

Published Jul 06, 2022 | 7:08 PM Updated Jul 23, 2022 | 5:10 PM

Aga Khan Museum

Canada’s Aga Khan Museum has cancelled the screening of Kaali, directed by Tamil Nadu-born director Leena Manimekalai.

The decision comes amid the ongoing controversy over the film’s poster portraying a woman dressed up like the Hindu goddess and smoking a cigarette.

The museum also extended an apology for hurting Hindu sentiments.

High commission statement

A statement from the High Commission of India in Ottawa, “The Toronto Metropolitan University brought together works from students of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds as part of the Canadian multiculturalism for the project Under the Tent.”

It added: “Our Consulate General in Toronto has conveyed these concerns to the organisers of the event. We are also informed that several Hindu groups have approached authorities in Canada to take action.”

It also said: “We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organisers to withdraw all such provocative material.”

Kaali poster row

The row over the movie poster, which depicted a woman as Hindu goddess Kaali smoking with the LGBTQ+ flag in the background, appeared on 3 July when its director Leena Manimekalai shared it on Twitter.

Many took to Twitter and other social media platforms demanding the arrest of the filmmaker because she had hurt Hindu sentiments.

The same day, a case was filed against her in Delhi by an advocate named Vineet Jindal.

The Indian High Commission in Ottawa on Monday urged the Canadian authorities to take down the poster.

“We have received complaints from leaders of the Hindu community in Canada about the 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” a statement of the Indian High Commission read.

Who is Leena Manimekalai?

Manimekalai hails from a village in the Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu.

Her family is said to have forced her to get married at the age of 18 after her father passed away. She became a filmmaker after getting divorced.

The film depicts what happens when Goddess Kaali walks through the streets of Toronto one evening, the filmmaker said in one of her tweets.