The battle between Apurva Asrani and Kangana Ranaut is only heating up. The news of the editor and scriptwriter's ouster from Hansal Mehta's film, Simran, came as quite the shock for industry insiders who were familiar with the duo's work and long time association. However, the makers of the film insisted that Asrani will remain co-writer of Hansal Mehta's film, sharing credits with Kangana Ranaut.
This has not gone down too well with Asrani. In a long and detailed post on his Facebook page, the writer and editor of Aligarh (2016) denounced the actress for 'discrediting' him and his efforts for the script of Simran and slammed her for lying to the media.
Writing that he had always supported Ranaut in her fight against the system, Asrani says, "Ms Ranaut has been claiming in several interviews that Hansal Mehta, the director of Simran, approached her with just a one line screenplay of the film. She says that the story was dark & 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 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."
Asrani goes on to add that he began work on the script of Simran 2 years ago, much before Ranaut joined the team. He says, "Hansal sent me a news article of a woman in the US who crossed the line of the law. I loved it and thought it would make a great film. But I didn't want to do a serious film after Aligarh. As gratifying as the experience of making Aligarh was, it churned my insides out and left me emotionally drained. I saw 'Simran' as an opportunity to have some fun. This was 2 years ago!...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 jumped at it. She told us she would do it!"
However, Asrani maintains that there was no talk of a co-writing credit during the working of the script. He maintains that while he wrote 9 drafts of the film, there was no communication from Kangana Ranaut about her disagreement with the tone of the film. "In fact," Asrani writes, "she used to jump with glee when I finished my narrations."
The change, the writer suggests, arrived after Ranaut's ambitions to turn director broke into the news. Asrani writes, " It was only the day after I finished the first cut of the film that Hansal called me to meet. He informed me nervously that Kangana is turning director and therefore has demanded a co writer credit...I naturally had a shit fit and feeling shocked and betrayed, I refused to give in. For 2 months, he and his co producer Shailesh tried to arm twist me into giving her a co writer credit. The details of which I will reserve for the future."
Despite the film being registered with the Film Writers' Association, the producers did finally manage to grasp 'additional writers' credit' for Ranaut. According to Asrani, "I finally gave into an additional writing credit, but only because they claimed their 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...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. She had already discredited my one line in her Mid Day Interview in April, saying it was a dark & gritty thriller till she wrote a new film."
The writer concludes by saying that he has tried to stay 'dignified' about the whole incident, but finds it disturbing that Ranaut has 'snatched' the hard earned work of a writer. In the end, Asrani hoped that director Hansal Mehta 'shows some spine' to either refute or endorse his story.
From Asrani's perspective, this also puts an end to his decade long partnership with director Hansal Mehta, which resulted in films like Shahid (2013), and Aligarh (2016).
It looks like this is another Kangana Ranaut saga that will drag on.