Posted by Fenil Seta
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; May 19, 2017)
The Simran credits saga seems to be getting murkier. Writer Sameer Gautam Singh, who had scripted Hansal Mehta’s Shahid (2013), has called out Apurva Asrani for raising a hue and cry over actress Kangana Ranaut being given credit as co-writer of Simran.
In a long Facebook post yesterday, Sameer has alleged that Apurva pressurized Hansal to give him editing credit for Shahid, although he was already on board as editor.
Sameer tells mid-day, “I was a greenhorn when I did Shahid. At that time, I had no industry friends. Apurva’s job was to build the narrative on the edit table. Why was he given a screenplay credit in a film in which he hadn’t punched in a word? There is a deep-rooted hypocrisy and Apurva seems to be doing all this for mileage. I feel upset that Hansal is being made out to be a villain. In Shahid, Hansal sir was there working on the drafts and thus, he earned his credit. Apurva raising questions on his credit is both funny and sad. As Shahid’s writer, I have no issues with my director sharing my credit. Hansal sir did the work. Apurva did not.”
Filmmaker Jaydeep Sarkar says he sees a pattern in Asrani’s stinker posts online. “Seeing him accuse Hansal Mehta touches a raw nerve, and compels me to talk about something similar Apurva did with a much smaller project, a short film that I directed,” he says, adding this isn’t the first time that Apurva has cried foul over credit. “This business of public shaming for quick publicity seems to be his favourite weapon,” adds Sarkar. He claims Apurva had reacted badly to press coverage of his 2015 short film since the reports mentioned names of just the actors. “He put up a Facebook post, calling me names. We work in an industry where our reputation is currency. Being hit where it hurts the most, without any malice from my end, was a rude shock. It was the Facebook equivalent of a gully fight, when he could have just picked up the phone and spoken to me about it. Not like I knew what else I could have done except calling the film Apurva Asrani to shine the spotlight on him. When I did confront him, he responded by deleting the post. But the damage was done,” Sarkar wrote on social media.
When we contacted Apurva to respond to the allegations, he maintained that he would address past issues later since he has to get the Simran fracas sorted first. “I am not going to allow people to distract us. The poster [in which Kangana’s credit precedes his] has to be set right. The actor claiming [credit for] the narrative needs to be fixed. When you take on big people, you expect retorts like these. I don’t want the actress to claim that she has written the film. She deserves the additional credit by all means. I had to call out the lie that she has developed the script from one line.”