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TMU apologizes for providing platform to ‘Kaali’ filmmaker

Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) has issued an apology for associating its name with the film Kaali and the Hinduphobic poster created by Kollywood filmmaker Leena Manimekalai to promote her film. The statement was released in regards to the university-sponsored event where the film “Kaali” was screened and filmmaker Leena Manimekalai released her poster showing the Hindu goddess Kali smoking a cigarette.

In the apology letter, the university said the TMU department that hosted the event is committed to taking steps to resolve the issue and recognizes the need to handle these complex matters more sensitively. The statement was released as part of the screening of the film ‘Kaali’.

The Hinduphobic film by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai was to be screened as part of the Aga Khan Museum’s ‘Under the Tent’ project and was organized by the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Metropolitan University of Toronto or CERC Migration.

Toronto Metropolitan University, however, has distanced itself from filmmaker Leena Manimekalai. The University said that although it takes full responsibility as host of the event where the Hinduphobic film was screened and the ‘Kaali’ poster was displayed, it wanted to “clarify that the student in question is not a student of TMU and their poster has not been reviewed or approved by TMU.”

Image credit: Twitter user @CoHNAOfficial

“The university would like to apologize for the oversight on our part and for any upset and disappointment this may have caused,” the letter read.

The Aga Khan Museum apologizes and halts screening of Hinduphobic film ‘Kaali’

Notably, on July 6, the University had also decided to stop the screening of the Hinduphobic film ‘Kaali’. In response to Wion News’ question, the University said the “Kaali” film will not be part of the later screening of the “Under The Tent” event. He said, “We recognize the short has caused sensitivities and have no plans to screen it at this time.”

Toronto Metropolitan University had also added a statement on the event details page. In the statement, the University’s CERC Migration Department said: “We regret that some content in our Under the Tent presentation on Saturday July 2 caused offense and we are taking action to address this. We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion while respecting the diversity of beliefs and viewpoints in our society. We recognize the need to explore and sensitively examine complex topics.

The day before, the Aga Khan Museum also released a statement and apologized for hurting the religious feelings of Hindus and other religious communities.

It should be noted that the High Commission of India in Ottawa had urged Canadian authorities to remove the screening of an objectionable film bearing the name of the Hindu goddess Kaali.

Following social media outrage, filmmaker says she has nothing to lose

After director Leena Manimekalai released a poster depicting Maa Kaali smoking, there was outrage on social media against the film. In response to criticism, Leena remarked, “I have nothing to lose. I want to be with a voice that speaks fearlessly until it is. If the price is my life, I will give it. She made no statement after the screening stopped.