The poster, which she shared on Twitter on July 2, shows a woman dressed as Hindu deity Kaali and smoking a cigarette. This image is set against the pride flag of the LGBTQ community.
The FIRs were lodged a day after two police complaints were filed against Manimekalai, claiming the poster has hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
The FIR in Delhi was registered by police’s Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations cell under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence) and 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.
The FIR in Uttar Pradesh was lodged against Manimekalai, the associate producer of the documentary, Asha, and the editor, Shravan Onachan.
The Uttar Pradesh FIR invoked the same sections as the Delhi one. Apart from them, the filmmaker and her associates have been booked on charges of criminal conspiracy, deliberate intention to hurt the religious feelings of a person, insult with intention to provoke breach of peace, public mischief as well as provisions of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.
An advocate in Delhi, Vineet Jindal, had filed a complaint against the filmmaker with the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations of the police over the poster. He asked the authorities to ban the poster as well as the video clip from the documentary.
Another complaint was filed by a person named Ajay Gautam.
After facing backlash, Manimekalai told The Quint, “These people have nothing to do with faith. Their fuel is hate.”
She added that the outrage over the poster shows the “deteriorating socio-political condition” in India.
“The country is sinking into a dark hole of hate and bigotry,” the Madurai-born filmmaker said. “These trolls are not only after my artistic freedom but also academic freedom. If I give away my freedom fearing this mindless mob mafia, I will give away everyone’s freedom. So I will keep it, come what may.”
Her documentary was screened at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto as part of a festival called Rhythms of Canada.
Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Canada said on Monday that it has received complaints from several Hindus about the “disrespectful depiction of Hindu gods” on the poster of the film.
“We urge the Canadian authorities and the event organisers to withdraw all such provocative material,” it added.