Saraswati, the president of the Shakti Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam, posted a video in which she condemned the poster of Leena’s film ‘Kaali’ and threatened to kill her.

Collage of Shakti Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam president Saraswati, and Leena ManimekalaiL: Saraswati | R: Leena Manimekalai
news Controversy Wednesday, July 06, 2022 - 19:28

As controversy rages over the poster of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary Kaali, the Coimbatore police have arrested the president of a fringe right-wing group for allegedly issuing death threats to the director. The woman, Saraswati, has claimed to be the president of the Shakti Sena Hindu Makkal Iyakkam. She had reportedly posted a video on social media, in which she strongly condemned the film’s poster and spoke about Manimekalai in an obscene manner and threatened to kill her. Based on this, the Selvapuram police in the city registered a case, charging Saraswati of speaking in an obscene manner and threatening to kill. 

The documentary, Kaali, was set to premiere in Canada’s Aga Khan Museum, as part of its ‘Under the Tent’ project. On July 2, Leena Manimekalai had shared the film’s poster, which depicted the Hindu goddess smoking a cigarette and holding an LGBTQIA+ flag. The poster triggered outrage from right-wing organisations and leaders, who said that the poster hurt their religious sentiments. Amid the backlash, the Aga Khan museum on Wednesday, July 6, announced that the film is no longer being shown as part of the project.

“The Museum deeply regrets that one of the 18 short videos from ‘Under the Tent’ and its accompanying social media post have inadvertently caused offence to members of the Hindu and other faith communities,” the museum said.

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had said that it had received complaints from leaders of the Hindu community in Canada about the disrespectful depiction of Hindu gods on the poster of the film showcased as part of the 'Under the Tent' project at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. “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,” the statement read.

Read: Canada’s Aga Khan museum apologises after row over Leena Manimekalai's Kaali

Meanwhile, Leena has hit out at those criticising the film’s poster before watching it. "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," Manimekalai wrote in a Twitter post in Tamil in response to an article on the controversy.

"The film is about the events during Kaali's strolls through the streets of Toronto city, one fine evening. If they watch the movie, they will put the hashtag 'love you Leena Manimekalai' rather than 'Arrest Leena Manimekalai,’" she added in reply to another article. Kaali is yet to be shown to Indian audiences.

Read: Mahua Moitra’s ‘Kaali is meat-eating, alcohol-accepting goddess’ remark stirs row

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.