Subscribe Us

‘Hindutva can never become India’: Leena Manimekalai says ‘do not feel safe anywhere’ amid 'Kaali' poster row

 The "Kaali" director also stated that she does not feel safe "anywhere at this moment". 

‘Hindutva can never become India’: Leena Manimekalai says ‘do not feel safe anywhere’ amid 'Kaali' poster row

New Delhi: Under attack from several quarters for the objectionable portrayal of Goddess Kali in the poster of her upcoming documentary ''Kaali'', filmmaker Leena Manimekalai slammed her detractors on Thursday, saying “Hindutva can never become India”.  The Canada-based filmmaker took to Twitter and wrote, “BJP payrolled troll army have no idea about how folk theatre artists chill post their performances. This is not from my film. This is from everyday rural India that these Sangh Parivars want to destroy with their relentless hate and religious bigotry. Hindutva can never become India”. 



The "Kaali" director also stated that she does not feel safe "anywhere at this moment". The filmmaker is facing several FIRs following outrage over the poster of “Kaali” showing the goddess smoking and holding an LGBTQ flag.

"It feels like the whole nation, that has now deteriorated from the largest democracy to the largest hate machine, wants to censor me. I do not feel safe anywhere at this moment," Manimekalai tweeted while also tagging an old interview she gave to a British newspaper.

Since the controversy began last week, Manimekalai, her family and collaborators have received threats from more than 200,000 accounts online, she said. The Toronto-based director described the online vitriol as a "grand-scale mass lynching" by right-wing Hindu groups. She also dismissed claims that her film is disrespectful to the goddess or to Hinduism, arguing that she had been raised as a Hindu in Tamil Nadu but is now an atheist.

"In Tamil Nadu, the state I come from, Kaali is believed to be a pagan goddess. She eats meat cooked in goat's blood, drinks arrack, smokes beedi (cigarettes) and dances wild, that is the Kaali I had embodied for the film," she said.

"I have all rights to take back my culture, traditions and texts from the fundamentalist elements. These trolls have nothing to do with religion or faith," she added. The poster has led to a social media storm with the hashtag 'Arrest Leena Manimekalai', allegations that the filmmaker is hurting religious sentiments.

Two separate FIRs have been registered against Manimekalai in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. On Wednesday, two additional cases were filed against her in Bhopal and Ratlam.

Manimekalai is not the only one to face police cases following the controversy. FIRs have also been filed against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra for allegedly hurting religious feelings with her comments about the goddess.

Meanwhile, Twitter has pulled down Manimekalai's tweet from last week in which she shared the poster of the documentary. It was replaced by a message from Twitter that read, "This Tweet from @LeenaManimekali has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand."

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto which was supposed to show “Kaali” at an event expressed regret and has removed the documentary from its list of films being presented. “Kaali" was showcased as part of the 'Under the Tent' project at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.

In response to the attacks, the Toronto-based director hit back to say she was willing to pay with her life. "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.

Post a Comment