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Leena Manimekalai calls Trial by Fire’s Rajshri Deshpande an ‘adroit artist’

The filmmaker, who was in line of fire last year over the poster of her documentary - Kaali, has heaped praises on the actor of the Netflix miniseries, also starring Abhay Deol

Leena Manimekalai calls Trial by Fire’s Rajshri Deshpande an ‘adroit artist’
Leena Manimekalai praises Rajshri Deshpande's performance in Netflix's Trial by Fire

Last Updated: 05.50 PM, Jan 16, 2023


Known for her movies like Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale and Is It Too Much To Ask, filmmaker Leena Manimekalai caused uproar last year after she shared a poster of her new documentary - Kaali - on Twitter, which featured Goddess Kali smoking a cigarette. Within days, several FIRs were filed against her in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand. In the latest update, the filmmaker has moved the Supreme Court for quashing those complaints. Meanwhile, taking to social media, Leena has recently heaped praises on actor-activist Rajshri Deshpande, who’s been getting rave reviews for her performance in the recently released Netflix miniseries, Trial by Fire

The story of the seven-episode series is inspired by the 1997 Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy that choked as many as 59 people to death on the fateful evening of June 13 at the Green Park theatre in Delhi, during a screening of the film Border. It also features actors Abhay Deol, Anupam Kher, Ashish Vidyarthi and Ratna Pathak Shah, among others. The narrative is based on Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy’s book, titled Trial by Fire: The Tragic Tale of the Uphaar Fire Tragedy


In a Facebook post, Leena wrote, “I am not sure if I can ever recover from the experience of #trialbyfire. What an adroit of an artist you are Rajshri Deshpande. You just conquered every cell, every nerve, every millimetre of my conscious. You sent me to shivers and burn for justice with a stare, a lip twitch, raise of an eyebrow, shake of a finger, every single movement punctuated with so much emotional sincerity and intelligence. Stay blessed QUEEN. Your performance invokes the primal maternal anguish in each one of us.” Here's the OTTplay review of Trial by Fire.

Leena Manimekalai and Rajshri Deshpande
Leena Manimekalai and Rajshri Deshpande

The filmmaker also spoke highly of director Prashant Nair. “Respect and adoration to the director Prashant Nair and the entire crew for handling such a sensitive subject with so much restraint, dignity and nuance. So happy to see where Prashanth has reached since when I had met him at MAMI with his very first film #Delhiinaday. Thank you all for giving us a gem. ❤️ #Netflix,” she added. 

Cut to the Goddess Kali poster row, Leena approached the Apex Court seeking protection against the criminal proceedings emerging from the FIRs. She was quoted saying that “her attempt as a creative filmmaker was not to offend the religious sentiment of anyone, but to depict the image of a radically inclusive goddess”. A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha will hear the case on January 20.

Read the review of her film Maadathy: An Unfairy Tale here.

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