The poster of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary, Kaali, has drawn flak from netizens for hurting religious sentiments. Many took to social media to express their discontent around the depiction of Goddess Kali, while there are others who have extended their support towards the Canada-based Madurai-born Indian director. Producer Himanshoo A Pathak shares his take on the poster.
“I don’t want to give further publicity to the director (Leena Manimekalai) as it will further give her what she blatantly wanted to achieve through her film poster. It’s highly objectionable and not acceptable in any manner. Amid growing religious communal tension far and wide this is the last thing we expect a Hindu girl to do, that is malign religion in the name of ‘creativity’. We are also in the business of production but to achieve success or publicize your content you don’t stoop to such a low level. She has gone far. Even if creativity was involved she shouldn’t have made that into a poster, which can spark controversy or hurt religious sentiments. It all seems so planned,” he says.
Of late, we have seen so many instances where people’s religious sentiments are being hurt by film content. Some examples would be Angry Indian Goddesses, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Fire, Laxxmi, Veere Di Wedding etc.
Ask Himanshoo, if he perceives this as religious intolerance or merely a resistance to feminist and progressive ideas and he answers, “Like I said, people are hungry for attention. And, when you have limited resources to attract attention these are the reasonable sources to achieve instant attention in minimum time. In the name of creativity, people go to atrocious extent to defend themselves. The knowledge of these kinds of people is minimal even if they are educated. These so-called liberals today have no knowledge of our vast culture and history and hence think it’s easier to destroy than to help build what we have been bestowed with.”
Himanshoo does not feel that expressing discontent over the poster is any sort of religious intolerance. “It’s neither religious intolerance nor a feminist progressive idea, often these terms are referred when a movie or content is to release. Good content can be appreciated but not at the cost of claiming to be liberal and modern. We need to ensure that no one plays with religion to gain publicity at least. Mere mockery by an actor in a role is fine, but using the same for exterior means is wrong. We have seen many instances where mythological characters have been enacted for a funny sequence but the intent can be seen in the act and it is fine then. What does one achieve by showing Goddess Kaali smoking or drinking? How can someone become liberal with this thought?” he questions.