Why Writer Apurva Asrani is Really Upset with Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut's Simran is in controversy says Soumyadipta Banerjee
If there is one quality that is admirable about Kangana Ranaut and has won her millions of fans, it’s her remarkable honesty. Be it her fight with Hrithik Roshan or her spat with Karan Johar, Ms Ranaut’s candid remarks were a refreshing change from the usual diplomatic stance taken by actresses on most issues. She was a star who didn’t hesitate to call a spade a spade and spoke openly about nepotism, bullying by the biggies and other touchy topics.
But now Kangana has landed herself into a controversy and it certainly does not paint a pretty picture of the Queen. For a change, it’s not her personal life but a film that is causing the scandal. The movie in question is Simran, her upcoming release, the teaser of which was released recently to a good response. According to reports, the film is based on the real life story of an NRI woman in the US who robbed banks to pay off her debts. The teaser which shows Kangana in various looks, goofing around town, is charming to say the least.
So where’s the controversy you ask? Well, it’s because the director Hansal Mehta decided to give Kangana the credit of being ‘co-writer’ and put her name above that of the original writer Apurva Asrani. This has rankled Asrani so much that he not only tweeted about it but also wrote a long Facebook post explaining what happened.
Asrani has been a long-term collaborator with Hansal Mehta on some of his most acclaimed films like Shahid and Aligarh. But recently they parted ways over this particular issue. Asrani says that Kangana has been claiming in interviews that she was just given a one-line story of the film which was back then, a dark and gritty thriller. It was she who developed it into a light, fun film. The writer says this completely discredits his own and the efforts he put in, researching, drafting and re-drafting his script for over two years. He further adds that Kangana did contribute to the dialogues improving the same tremendously, hence an ‘additional dialogue’ credit wouldn’t have been off the mark but to term her as ‘co-writer’ (which indicates that she has written the film alongside Asrani) and place her name above his in the posters, was completely unethical. “This completely discredits me and my efforts, and I have to call out this lie at the cost of so many of her fans turning against me. Those that know me will know that I have always strived for the truth, and that is more important to me than a hit film,” wrote Asrani on his Facebook page.
Apparently, after the shoot was over, Hansal Mehta told him that Kangana had demanded a co-writer’s credit since she was launching her own directorial debut soon. This shocked Asrani and he had to finally agree to ‘additional writing’ credit since he was told that the film would be stuck if he didn’t co-operate. But the co-writer designation is what has ticked him off the most. This begs the question: Was Kangana trying to bully her way to getting credit for something she had only slightly contributed to? Moreover, what annoyed Asrani the most is her claim that she was given a one-line story idea which she turned into a film.
“I have tried to be dignified about this for so long, but I am at a loss to understand why Kangana would snatch the hard earned work of a writer. I wish she had been graceful about this and acknowledged what I brought to this film,” he adds. Meanwhile, Hansal had tweeted a few days ago – “Kangana has collaborated on story and dialogues as clarified earlier.” Clearly, he is standing by his lead actress even if it has alienated his friend.
The question is: Did Kangana make an unfair demand to share credits? Filmmaking is a collaborative process and actors, writers, musicians all give their inputs to the final product. While acknowledging the extra effort is great does it merit a billing above the person who originally created the product? Was Kangana lying when she stated that it was she who wrote the film from a story idea and turned it around completely? After accusing the industry of being nepotistic and bullying those who didn’t toe the line, was she doing the same to a producer who may not have the clout as an A-list filmmaker?
Guess it’s time for the actress to clear the air.
Here's the teaser of Simran: