We had recently posted about writer Apurva Asrani claiming that he was not given enough credit for Simran and that Kangana's name was above him in the co-writers credit. Kangana in a recent interview with a publication shared her thoughts in the accusation thrown at her, and what the correct picture was, about the entire controversy.
Kangana in the interview stated that Apurva became part of the project only after Hansal Mehta thought of collaborating with him.
Here is a short excerpt from the interview where she states what transpired with regards to the writing credits and what Apurva stated against her in his post.
You've found yourself entangled in an elaborate fight over writing credits with Apurva Asrani over your upcoming film, Simran. Tell me how this film came about.
When I was shooting for Tanu Weds Manu Returns in Gurgaon in December 2014, Hansal Mehta came to me with Sarbjit. A 15-page draft. I did not like it. He told me he'll improve on it and we jointly decided to work on it. Eventually the project never flew and someone else made it. But the idea always was to collaborate as I've been a fan of Hansal's work. I told him that if we align our sensibilities, we'll have a winner at hand. My intention was to take Hansal Mehta and bring him in a fun, slice-of-life zone. When he was in the US, he called me and mentioned a BBC documentary on a woman who took to a life of crime. He said he wanted to develop it with me in the lead. I agreed, saying let's work on this together. Apurva was nowhere in the picture. When I asked Hansal who's writing it, he told me he usually collaborates with his editor, Apurva Asrani, and that's how he came into the picture. Hansal assured me about his credentials saying he 'almost' wrote Shahid and Aligarh and being a fan of these films, I agreed to come on-board.
Compared to what he had written i.e the script registered with the Film Writers Association, how different did the film eventually become?
Apurva's story was this dark thriller about a drug-addict who goes into a life of crime. It also had a lot of flavour of Wolf of Wall Street with share market jargon thrown in. I made it very clear that if we're making a film with a budget of Rs 30 crores, we need to make at least 60 cr, to even break-even. With the kind of script we had, that wouldn't be possible as it'd appeal to very limited people. Hansal then told me that I was free to talk to Apurva and get the script tweaked to make it more accessible. Now let's make something very clear: actors are very money-oriented. Some actors even take money to cut ribbons at a store. I'm not dying to lend my creative ideas and writing ideas when I'm being paid to act. Actors always want to be blown away by a dazzling script. When that's not the case, you need to fix it. When I started collaborating with Apurva, I realised this isn't a writer who matches my expectations. And when I enquired about his previous writing work, I realised he hadn't done them.
Why didn't you object then itself?
Of course I did. I told Hansal that we need a team of writers and this guy cannot deliver. Yes, he did write 9 drafts but they became so many drafts because both Hansal and I shot them down.
He's said that you loved every bit of it and...
.. I apparently jumped at those ideas because of how genius it was. Seriously? If it was so good, why oh why, would I have to do rewrites? This never ever happened. Yes, there were sessions but those were mostly me expressing my disappointment with the writing. Nobody can take away from the fact that if Simran today is a story of a divorced woman, it's entirely introduced by me. If the film has feminist undercurrents, I included that. The father-daughter track, the lover's track in the film -- these are subplots that I added. Even Apurva cannot take away from that, why should I be giving my precious time when I already have other commitments. It was a trying time also because I was shooting Rangoon at that time, a very difficult film. I had to do these things because I wasn't given a team of competent writers. Later on Hansal did a draft of his own and I could sense that he was under enormous pressure. He wanted to break away from Apurva but he couldn't. We did three drafts together and I still wasn't satisfied. I couldn't sense a spark. Finally, Hansal and I agreed that we'll fine tune this in the US (they reached there about a fortnight in advance) and I'll write the dialogues on sets.
While Kangana spoke from her heart in this interview and disregarged all the allegations made against her by Apurva, there is another controversy looming on her head. Director Ketan Mehta has filed a case against her alleging that she willingly stole the concept of making a film on Rani Laxmi Bai from him. Ketan said that, "Kangana being privy to all the documents and research material along with script shared with her, has knowingly commited the act of trying to hijack the project in collusion with Producer Kamal Jain & others." The story goes that Kangana and Ketan were supposed to make a film on the same subject, however things didn't work out as planned and the film got made. Now that Kangana is making a film on the same subject, Ketan has alleged that she hijacked the project from him. Let's wait and watch what happens.
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