Renuka Vyavahare & Hiren Kotwani (BOMBAY TIMES; May 20, 2017)

The verbal duel between Simran's writer Apurva Asrani and actress Kangana Ranaut is heating up. A couple of days ago, Apurva, who has previously written-edited Aligarh, lashed out at the makers of Simran for giving the actress 'Additional Story and Dialogue' credit on the film's poster. He accused her of hijacking the story and claiming credit for some improvisations during the shoot. The writer was also stumped to see her name being featured before his on the film's poster.

On the other hand, Kangana in a recent interview said that she had actually rewritten parts of the movie that was dark initially, and so, the credit is rightfully hers. After days of maintaining silence, director Hansal Mehta also took to social media to express his views. Meanwhile, Shailesh Singh, one of the producers of the film, says that what appeared on the poster was a printing error, which will be rectified. There are also rumours that Hansal was under pressure to support the actress. Hansal's son, Jai (also an AD on the film) strongly defends his dad and says, “I would be the last one to tolerate such a thing. We are supporting Kangana because she is speaking the truth.“

Some sources close to the film are baffled at this controversy, and are left wondering where the problem exactly lies since everyone concerned has got their due credit.

“I have never opposed Kangana's additional writing credit. People who contribute, should get recognised. Just like I contributed to the writers work in Shahid, she has contributed to my work in Simran. Kangana should gracefully accept the additional writing credit, and not go about claiming that she rewrote some dark script of mine. I wrote an entertainer, and I have proof of the same. Filmmaking is a collaborative effort and we need to give each department its respect.“

“It was Apurva who requested me that I take the credit for additional story and dialogue and not as the co-writer of the film. I agreed to that, following which we all signed legal documents. In fact, the matter was settled months ago. He is credited as the main writer of the story, screenplay and dialogue. There is no clarity on what else he needs from us on that front.“

“Yes, I am guilty of crediting individuals who contribute to making my films very special. Call me as many names as you want. But in your desperation to seek attention and gain sympathy, do not try to harm my film. My spine is whatever it is, weak or strong, it is only for my film and nothing else. I am not 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. And some free advice to those that jump the gun just to be relevant - go, get a life. Do some work that you can genuinely own. Endure the pain that comes with making an entire film and make that journey on your own. Then give yourself all the credits in the world.“

I don't understand what Apurva wants. Whatever he wanted has been documented legally. Surely, he read the papers thoroughly before signing them. He should stop raking up the issue and let people watch the film for what it is. As for his credit coming after Kangana's, I spoke to him and clarified that it was a mistake and I will correct it. But he didn't want to wait and made a noise about it. Kya galat hua hai? Apni khud ki history dekh lo. He has a habit of blackmailing. That won't work anymore. It will stop here. I can't do anything more. If he wants to continue, it's his wish. The chapter is over from our side.

No one is denying that Apurva is the writer of the story, screenplay and dialogue of Simran. Nobody is taking his credit away. However, it's a fact that Kangana did not just improvise but gave her inputs by actually writing the script for about two-and-a-half months in the US, which is why she was given the 'additional story and dialogue' credit for the film. It was collaboration. Why is it so hard for people to believe that an actor can be a good writer? There are characters, songs and montages in the film, which are totally her creation. Apurva wrote nine drafts for the film and it wasn't working out as Kangana and Hansal were constantly revising it. Simran releases on September 15 and we will release the last draft of Apurva's script online on 14th night so that you can tell for yourself the difference.

As far as the perception of Kangana being a star who is taking away Apurva's credit and arm-twisting my father is concerned, I would be the last one to tolerate such a thing. We are supporting her because she is speaking the truth. Apurva is no longer the editor of the film. We will rope in a new editor to start from the scratch.