Apurva Asrani has lashed out against Kangana Ranaut following credit controversy that has erupted after "Manikarnika - The Queen of Jhansi" director Krish claimed that the actor 'hijacked' the period drama.
In 2017, Asrani accused Ranaut of discrediting his work on "Simran" and debunked her claim of converting the movie from "one line screenplay to a full-fledged story". Two years and a war of words later, the writer-editor has supported Krish, who has broken silence on his exit from the Rani Lakshmibai biopic, starring Ranaut.
The actor, who turned director with "Manikarnika", claimed that she stepped in to fill Krish's shoes after he was unavailable to re-shoot a chunk of the project. But the director rubbished the claims, saying they together started and shot the film. He even said that the entire process of the film was done in poor taste. In a series of tweets, Asrani said "Manikarnika" had unfortunately gone the "Simran" way.
The writer warned the director how he will be targeted by Ranaut for speaking up. "What's going to hurt more brother Krish is that she will run a vicious smear campaign to destroy your credibility. "And worse, a large section of the media, especially the pseudo feminists, will ignore your story like they did when Ketan Mehta and then I claimed she hijacked our films. Sad," Asrani wrote on Twitter.
The scribe also shared some snippets of Krish's interview and recalled how Ranaut conspired with the producer to remove him from "Simran". "Director #Krish exposes how #KanganaRanaut hijacked #Manikarnika. This is exactly what she did on 'Simran' too. "Waited for me to complete the cut (minus patchwork), told me how much she loved it, then had me thrown out by colluding with producer - before she went onto screw up the film," he recounted.
Krish, in media interviews, has claimed that parts of other actors such as Atul Kulkarni, who plays Tantya Tope in the film, were chopped off to make the movie a one-person show. Asrani said, watching Krish speak was a "painful, yet cathartic" experience because he had gone through something similar. "I wrote #Simran with a passion similar to the man in the video (Krish). But an insecure #KanganaRanaut started deleting other actors lines on set and made it about her. Krish explains in frustration how she cut out historical characters from #Manikarnika too," Asrani added.
The writer-editor also called out his previous frequent collaborator, "Simran" director Hansal Mehta and blamed him along with Ranaut for allegedly triggering his Bell's Palsy last year. "Hansal Mehta, THIS is the mindf**k you and Kangana put me through on Simran which led me to a breakdown. If you had the courage to stand up then, we could have weathered many more storms together. "I salute Krish's courage and goodness, especially when he talks of his team. #catharsis," he said. A day after Asrani's tweet, Mehta shared a lengthy statement on the microblogging site to address the "Simran" controversy.
Calling the film a "closed chapter as far as I am concerned", the filmmaker said he decided to say his piece as people tend to keep dragging him into controversies surrounding Ranaut that seem to erupt from time to time. "The details of what really transpired during the film will remain a painful chapter of my life that might find their way in a memoir some day but will never become a source of somebody's vicarious pleasure on social media.
"I chose to remain silent before the film released because there was no way I could sabotage a film that had the efforts of so many people at stake. I chose to remain silent after the release because I was relieved that the film was finally out and I did not want to relive what I had endured. I had to move on for my own sanity," Mehta wrote. He said the past two years have been "difficult" for him that have impacted him "financially, mentally and physically" but he is dealing with the losses in the most constructive manner possible - by moving on and steering clear of toxic people.
Without naming anyone, Mehta thanked those "who revel in calling me names - the attention you give me is indeed flattering". Director-producer Pooja Bhatt also came to Krish's defence on the credit row. "This is so wrong... On every level... This is not the industry I was born to and not the industry I wish to inherit. Eventually it is credit we work for... Money comes and money goes... The first rule of filmmaking is to acknowledge people's contribution," she wrote on Twitter.
To this Asrani replied, "Thankyou for finally acknowledging this. I had yearned for your support when she did this to me two years ago too. But still, I'm happy to see this condemnation from you." Bhatt went on to apologise for if she came across as "being reticent". "The details of that situation,even though spelt out by all seemed murky to me which is why I didn't jump in. Though I always maintained that Hansal's silence felt odd and rather unjust," she added.
Asrani responded to her, claiming even he was duped by Ranaut's behaviour initially. "Her game is brutal. She first plays the victim & wins your trust. You give your all, sacrifice all other work, because she seems lovely. Then when you're ready with a film you nurtured/created, she has you thrown out. Then she uses the press & trolls to character assassinate you," he said.
Meanwhile, lyricist-dialogue writer of "Manikarnika", Prasoon Joshi praised Ranaut for "elevating the film to another level". "Kangana hasn't only given an outstanding performance she's also elevated the film to another level through her direction and commitment. Let not any controversy take that away from her. It's been a tough journey and am all for celebrating everyone's contribution. Here's to team #Manikarnika," Joshi tweeted. Ranaut, who is at the centre of the controversy, is yet to comment on Krish's remarks. The film, also starring Danny Denzongpa, Suresh Oberoi, Ankita Lokhande, released on January 25.