By Sharanya Gopinathan
Sooo this Simran controversy has been raging for a few days and I don’t exactly blame you if you don’t know what it’s about.
Basically, when the poster for the new movie Simran released, Kangana Ranaut got credits for ‘Additional Story and Dialogues’, which appeared before Apurva Asrani’s credit for ‘Story, Screenplay and Dialogues’. Apurva Asrani posted on Facebook that he was very angry because the efforts Ranaut contributed to the screenplay did not merit the credit, and that he felt Simran was being wrested from him. He was also angry that Ranaut said in separate interviews that she developed the script from one line, as he had written nine drafts of it. He told the director of the movie, Hansal Mehta, not to be spineless and to either support or refute his version of events.
After Asrani published this long post, three other people (Jaydeep Sarkar, Sameer Gautam and Shailesh Singh) accused Asrani of doing pretty much the same thing he just accused Ranaut of in three other films he had worked on in the past. Oopsie!
As usual, Kangana’s statements are the most interesting. In an interview to Huffington Post India, she specified the contributions she made to the film’s script and the angles she added (which sound quite amusing actually, the protagonist is now a drug-addict Gujarati domestic worker). She made a sly little reference to the controversy that blew up in Asrani’s face by saying that he wasn’t a writer who matches her expectations,and when she enquired about his previous writing work, found out he hadn’t done them. Lol, burn.
Most interestingly, she said that when the credits were being discussed with the team, Asrani threatened her by making subtle (or maybe not so subtle) hints that hinted at her reputation. Ranaut said that this discussion happened around the time when the whole Karan Johar-nepotism controversy broke. Asrani allegedly asked her if she needed another controversy right now, which Ranaut took as a threat that he would go ahead and tarnish her reputation. Which he did, or tried to.
The director of the movie, Hansal Mehta, spoke out about the issue (very dramatically), saying that he was indeed guilty: guilty of giving credit where credit was due, and that he would do the same not one time, but a thousand times over.
The hypocrisy of Asrani’s statement is a bit of an unexpected gift, but it’s pretty annoying to see someone get so angry at a woman being given credit for the work she did, and threatening her for insisting on it. Reputations, of course, matter immensely in Bollywood and out, and Ranaut has acknowledged that she’s being typecast as the sort of person who’s “difficult to work with” because she stands up for herself. It’s both great and necessary though: the work women do has so often been totally invisible and glossed over, so it’s always nice to see strong women staking their claims, no matter the consequences and tantrums from angry men.
And now, here is one last unexpected and unrelated gift:
This is my favourite story when it comes to writers making sure they get credit. (From @anupamachopra‘s Sholay: The Making of a Classic) pic.twitter.com/bf6xB1U8Qi
— Antriksh Manav (@SumitPurohit) May 19, 2017
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