‘I feel shocked and betrayed’

... says Apurva Asrani, outraged over Kangana Ranaut’s co-writing claims in Simran

Published: 17th May 2017 10:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2017 06:45 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

The teaser for the Kangana starrer Simran was unveiled recently to overwhelmingly positive response. The teaser and the poster both credited Kangana Ranaut with additional story, screenplay and dialogues, ahead of Apurva Asrani, who wrote the story. This has irked the writer who took to social media to express his disappointment.

Apurva went on Facebook to say the credits did not bother him so much, but that there was “something bigger” that he noticed here, which he could not make sense of. “Ms Ranaut has been claiming that Hansal Mehta (director of Simran), approached her with just a one line screenplay of the film. She says that the story was a dark and gritty thriller at that stage and that she herself developed it into a light, fun film. This completely discredits me and my efforts, and I have to call out this lie,” he says.

The writer went to say that the source of inspiration for the story was news article sent by Hansal Mehta about a woman in the US who crossed the line of the law. He adds that he did not want to do another serious film after Aligarh, because the experience, gratifying as it had been, left him emotionally drained. “I saw Simran as an opportunity to have some fun,” says Apurva, who claims all of this happened 2 years ago.

Talking about how the project started taking shape he says, “I signed a contract with Hansal’s company Karma Features, developed the idea into an original story and wrote a one-line screenplay. Hansal loved it, and took me to meet Kangana. She heard the narration and told us she would do it.” Apurva says he then went to the US to research the subject and began writing upon his return. “I wrote 9 drafts of the script. With each draft I went deeper into the character, I gave her an identity, motives and colour. Both Kangana and Hansal gave me valuable inputs. I incorporated some, rejected some. They were always happy with the outcome. I have proof of this,” he adds.

The writer contends that at no point was there any indication that Kangana did not like the tone or direction of the script. “In fact, she used to jump with glee when I finished my narrations,” he claims. When the shooting was complete and he was present during the edit, Apurva says he was “thrilled to see that it was exactly the story and screenplay that I had registered at the Film Writer’s Association. I noticed that Kangana had improvised many dialogues, and I thought those improvisations were excellent; in keeping with the lines/thoughts I had written.”

He further says, “At no stage did I see this new narrative of theirs coming. It was only the day after I finished the first cut of the film that Hansal informed me nervously that Kangana is turning director and therefore has demanded a co-writer credit.” The writer goes on to say he felt “shocked and betrayed” by this but refused to give in. “For 2 months, he (Hansal) and his co producer Shailesh tried to arm twist me into giving her a co-writer credit. I finally agreed to an additional writing credit, but only because they claimed the film would be stuck if I didn’t do so. But, I refused to give her a co writer credit, and we signed a letter where they promised me the same,” he says.

Talking about the incident that finally forced him to speak out, he says, “Today not only do I see her credit before mine on the poster (which I had decided not to fight), but I also saw Kangana on her Facebook Live event yesterday claiming that she had written the film (with Hansal) from a one-line he gave her.” The aggrieved writer goes on to say, “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.”
Apurva concludes his post by urging his “dear friend Hansal to show some spine and either refute or endorse” his story.

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