Hansal shows some spine
Simran director douses fire over co-scripting controversy between writer and Kangana
Two days after Apurva Asrani called out Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut and filmmaker Hansal Mehta over the Simran credit row, the National award-winning filmmaker clarified that he doesn’t owe anybody an explanation.
Mehta took to social media and wrote, “My spine is whatever it is, weak or strong; it is only for my film and nothing else. If I chose to not speak it is for my film. And when I do speak it will only be in service of my film.”
Mehta said when he speaks, “It will not be driven by any blackmail or any noise on social media where dignity is perceived as weakness and conversation is replaced by allegation. I don’t owe anybody an explanation except to those colleagues who work with love, respect and are genuine stakeholders in our efforts to make films.”
The Aligarh filmmaker added he is “guilty” of “crediting individuals who contribute to making my films very special to many of us. And yes I will be guilty. Not once more. But a thousand times over. Call me names, as many names as you want. But in your desperation to seek attention and gain sympathy, do not try to harm my film,” he said.
Kangana reacted to the spat in an interview with a portal, “I don’t want to steal someone’s work. But at the same time, I also don’t want to feel short-changed for the additional work I have put in. Since co-writer was not an option, I settled for additional story and additional dialogue. The basic blueprint of the film was still Apurva’s and he has been duly credited for that. What else does he want, I fail to understand.”
Kangana added, “When we (Hansal and Asrani) had the conversation about sharing credits, he lost it completely and drove everyone insane. This was when the nepotism controversy had broken and this man tells me, ‘Do you really need another controversy?’ It was a threat. Basically he was saying if I don’t shut up, he’ll go ahead and tarnish my image as a ‘trouble-maker’ which is exactly what he has done despite getting the credit!”
Asrani was credited as the co-writer of Shahid. However, on Thursday, the original writer Sameer Gautam claimed he had been shortchanged. In a Facebook post on Friday, Sameer wrote: “I was supposed to have a ‘Written By’ credit. Then one day, not much later, I got to know from a team member that Apurva is insisting on a screenwriting credit for the film. Sir (Mehta) was happy with this cut and he then spoke to me about this.”
At first, Sameer did not know what to say and then he said, “No” because he had given the film four years of his life with nothing but that to show for it.
“Apurva kept at it and refused to work any further unless he was given a screenplay credit for editing this ‘fresh approach/ narrative’ to the film. Hansal sir was in a Catch 22 situation and I could see it. It was difficult for him. He did not want to lose either of us. As much as he fought for me, he finally gave in to Apurva’s demands and agreed to give him the credit,” he added.
Kangana Ranaut, meanwhile, has fresh trouble brewing at hand. Filmmaker Ketan Mehta has sent her a legal notice for “hijacking” his dream project on Rani Lakshmi Bai.
Ketan and Kangana were supposed to team up for Rani of Jhansi: The Warrior Queen. But the National Award-winning star recently announced another film titled Manikarnika - the Queen of Jhansi with director Krish. “We sent the legal notice earlier this week, but there is no response to it. After we learnt that they are making the film on the same subject, we decided to go the legal way. This is complete breach of trust. I believe hijacking a fully developed project is a brazen attack and this is not acceptable,” said he.
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