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Priyanka Chopra Jonas confirmed to play Ma Anand Sheela, but former Osho secretary prefers Alia Bhatt

The controversial spiritual guru admires the actress's spunk and feels she resembles her younger self. 

Our Correspondent

In December last year, there were reports about Priyanka Chopra Jonas being signed to play Ma Anand Sheela in her biopic. The portal, The Hollywood Reporter, has confirmed that the actress will indeed be playing the controversial spiritual guru, who was personal secretary to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, aka Osho, for an Amazon original film to be helmed by Barry Levinson. 

However, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions has also acquired the rights to the project. Their film will see Alia Bhatt play Ma Anand Sheela. Shakun Batra has come on board as a director and executive producer. The actress also has Ma Anand Sheela's vote to play her unlike Chopra Jonas. 

Speaking about Ma Anand Sheela, Batra had said in a media statement late last year, “Some believe she’s the epitome of feminism, a pop icon, and others view her as the criminal mastermind behind one of America’s biggest scandals. But does anyone know who she really is? The film will attempt to peel the layers of her personality and unveil the real Ma Anand Sheela. It will give the world an inner glimpse into a woman, whose antics and statements cause a stir wherever she goes.” 

In December last year, Ma Anand Sheela made it clear that Chopra does not have her approval to play her character and has sent her a legal notice for the same. Speaking to the daily, The Hindustan Times, she said, “I told her I do not give her permission to do [the] film because I have not chosen her. In Switzerland, we send legal notices very simply. I sent her an email which is accepted there as legal.” 

Ma Anand Sheela also believes that Alia Bhatt resembles her young self. “I saw bits of a film that my sister was watching, and I thought, I looked like her when I was young. I asked my sister, ‘Did I look like her when I was young?’ And she said, ‘Yes, you do’. I feel she has the spunk in her that I had. Spunk is very necessary and it is very natural, it is not artificial, not cosmetic, it is genuine,” she added. 

For those not in the know, Ma Anand Sheela was convicted of infecting salad bars in 10 restaurants, which led to 751 people being affected by food poisoning in Wasco Country, Oregon in the 1980s. She came into the limelight in 2018, when the Netflix documentary series on Osho, titled Wild, Wild, Country.