It has now come to light that the script of Simran was not fictional, but inspired from a real life woman called Sandeep Kaur who had striking similarities to reel life, Praful Patel. The only difference was that, while Praful Patel in the film is a Gujarati, Sandeep Kaur is actually Punjabi. Before getting caught, the US media dubbed her as the "Bombshell Bandit" who robbed banks in pretty much the same way as Praful Patel did in the movie Simran.
An India Today article also details how Sandeep was sucked into the crime pretty much like in the movie Simran. Here’s the real story:
Sandeep Kaur was born in Chandigarh. She moved to California with her family at the age of seven. By the age of 19, she was a licensed vocational Nurse, and soon began to make up to $6,000 a month.
While she was still a teenager, Sandeep had a stroke of luck when she invested all her life's savings in the stock market. The prices of stocks were really low due to the economy crash, and she ended up making $200,000. But, on her 21st birthday, everything went haywire when she and her cousin went to Las Vegas to celebrate her birthday. "I gambled. I won a couple of thousand and it was pretty fun. I played blackjack and I kept winning," she told BBC in an interview.
Soon, her beginner's luck ran out.
She had already lost $60,000, but she just could not stop. She even quit her Bachelor of Science course in nursing and turned to full-time gambling. "I stopped working. I can't focus and be going to work for this little amount of money," Sandeep said. She soon, lost money to the tune of $250,000. This is when Sandeep caught the eye of loan sharks. They lent her the $20,000 she needed, but it came at a sky-high interest rate.
Sandeep then fled Vegas, trying to escape her creditors in 2012. But her past caught up with her soon enough. In 2014, she spotted a mysterious black vehicle tailing her car. Two men cornered her about her loan and said that she needed to cough up $35,000 in two days. She was threatened and given a choice of either paying up or working for them. "They said, 'You can rob a bank. Go rob a house, do this do that, we need the money.' They tried to give me a gun," Sandeep said.
Less than two weeks later, she committed her first bank robbery in Valencia, California, where she escaped with $21,200.
The men demanded another $20,000 in a week's time, and Sandeep robbed a bank in Arizona for $1,978. She then robbed a bank in San Diego and got $8,000. "I gave them the money, but it was still not enough... They said 'You're running out of time. By 1 August, if you don't have the money, we are going to take you. You're going to work for us.' So then I said, 'OK, I'll go rob this last bank, and give them this money by the first of the month, and get this over with,'" she said.
Sandeep was dubbed the "Bombshell Bandit" for her modus operandi of slipping the teller a note threatening to detonate a bomb if they didn't give her the money. She would wear wigs and large sunglasses to disguise herself.
Sandeep robbing a bank
Her run finally ended on July 31, 2014, when she got caught running away with money from the US Bank in St George. The manager called 911 as she sped away, and soon, a police car started following her. Sandeep was chased across three states, and the police finally caught up with her. She was then sentenced to 66 months in jail, and ordered to repay the banks every dollar that she stole.