‘Kaali’: Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai faces loss of life threats over controversial Hindu goddess poster

'Kaali': Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai faces death threats over controversial Hindu goddess poster

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A Toronto-based filmmaker says she has received a deluge of death threats and abuse from Hindu nationalists in India after she depicted the goddess Kali smoking a cigarette.

The image, which featured on a poster for her independent film “Kaali”, has sparked nationwide debate in India, with politicians, diplomats and local police reportedly among those accusing director Leena Manimekalai of offending religious sentiments.

The film, which uses an alternative English spelling of the goddesses’ name, was among 18 works intended to explore multiculturalism at the Toronto Metropolitan University’s “Under the Tent” showcase at the Aga Khan Museum.

Described as a “performance documentary,” it imagines the Hindu goddess “descending onto a queer female filmmaker” and viewing Canada — and its diverse people — through her eyes, Manimekalai explained.

“She is a free spirit. She spits at patriarchy. She dismantles Hindutva (an ideology that seeks to transform secular…