Vivek Agnihotri has dabbled with fellow filmmaker Leena Manimekalai about the controversial poster of her film Kaali. Leena had defended the poster – on which the Hindu goddess Kaali smoked a cigarette – in an interview. It invited a sarcastic comment from Vivek, calling for “the dismantling of such vigils.” Also read: How Leena Manimekalai Defends Her Kaali Poster
Leena has faced online backlash and an FIR, for her movie poster, Kaali. Aside from the smoking, a flag of the LGBT community can be seen in the background. Last week, Leena took to Twitter and shared an interview she gave to a foreign news channel, defending the poster. Using the link, she shared one of her quotes from the interview, which read: “My Kaali is queer. She is a free spirit. She spits at patriarchy. She dismantles Hindutva. She destroys capitalism; She embraces everyone with all her thousand hands.” Vivek shared the tweet with some frenzied emojis, writing, “Can anyone dismantle such crazy wakes? Please.”
Vivek, best known for films such as The Kashmir Files and The Tashkent Files, recently saw his own Oxford Union speech canceled in the UK. In a tweet, he called it “intellectual terrorism” and wrote “in the UK there is no freedom of speech”.
Previously, Leena had shared messages indicating that she is receiving death threats over the matter. In a previous tweet, she had already said that she will not bow. She shared a tweet from author Mira Kamdar, writing: “These trolls are preying on my artistic freedom. If I give my freedom away for fear of this mindless right-wing mafia, I’ll be giving away everyone’s freedom. So I’ll keep it no matter what. “
Leena’s movie Kali was recently screened at Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum as part of a festival. After complaints that the poster hurt religious feelings, the museum apologized. The issue has since become a major controversy with politicians and celebrities all going for it.
Madhya Pradesh’s Home Affairs Minister Narottam Mishra wrote to Twitter urging that a mechanism be devised to investigate and filter out potentially provocative and offensive content. Following this, Twitter also removed the poster’s images from the platform. Madhya Pradesh Police also issued a lookout circular for Leena. The filmmaker was born in Madurai in Tamil Nadu and lives in Toronto.