The can of worms that Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death had opened, keeps popping up ugly secrets of Bollywood that have long been buried. As the debate around the dirty lobbying, nepotism and mafia-type operations of Bollywood intensifies, a lot of artists and prominent names have been speaking up about the dirty underbelly of the shining glamour world.
In a Republic TV debate over the Bollywood lobbying gangs, prominent author Harinder Sikka, whose production Nanak Shah Fakir had won three national film awards in 2016, has spoken on how Meghana Gulzar, the acclaimed moviemaker, had worked to hound him out of the Jaipur Literature Festival, book launch events and even awards. Sikka said that it was because Meghna Gulzar wanted all the credits for Raazi for herself and the Bollywood mafia gang did not want an ‘outsider’ like Sikka to be given any awards or accolades.
Wow..Harinder Sikka writer of the book Raazi on which the movie Raazi directed by Meghna Gulzar is based on speaks of how she stole away all his credits,bulldozed him out of Jaipur litfest & more. Speaks of credit taken away from a lawyer in #Chhapaakpic.twitter.com/MOMtUugolE— Maya (@Sharanyashettyy) July 19, 2020
Sikka stated that Gulzar had pressurised the organisers of the Jaipur lit fest to remove Sikka from the event so that his book launch is delayed. He also claimed that his name was removed from the award for the best original story in the Filmfare awards at the behest of the Gulzars and even his movie Nanak Shah Fakir was not sent as India’s entry for the Oscars because the Bollywood mafia did not want an ‘outsider’ to steal the thunder.
Harinder Sikka’s allegations against Meghna Gulzar
Harinder Sikka is the author of the bestseller ‘Calling Sehmat’, the story of a Kashmiri girl who was trained as a spy and was married in a prominent Pakistani military family to gather information for the Indian Army. The story was made into the 2018 Bollywood blockbuster ‘Raazi’ starring Alia Bhat in the lead role.
Sikka had earlier also claimed that Meghna Gulzar had tampered with the story to portray a negative image of the Indian Army. In the movie, the protagonist Sehmat, after accomplishing her goals as a spy, is shown returning to India as a broken, depressed woman. Portraying the image that the Indian Army had used, and exploited a young Kashmiri girl. However, in Sikka’s book, Sehmat had returned India as a strong woman, proud of her achievements and with love and longing for her homeland.
Speaking to WION in January 2020, Sikka had stated that Meghna had deliberately kept him out of the preview screenings and post-production work because she did not want him to know how she had changed the ending. He had also claimed that the launch of his book was deliberately delayed by the Gulzars so Meghna, and not Sikka gets all the credit.
Pls read Calling Sehmat. She didn’t return as depressed woman. Instead,she saluted Tri-colour. Band played National anthem.— Harinder S Sikka (@sikka_harinder) April 26, 2020
Raazi shud hv got National Awards, become folklore.
Meghna had promised she wouldn’t tinker. I felt back stabbed.
It still hurts. https://t.co/BG9Uu6ggGe
Sikka had earlier shared on Twitter that due to Meghna Gulzar’s short-sightedness, Raazi, which should have won multiple awards, appeared confused and negative in the end. Though the movie got commercial success, which, the author thinks was mostly due to Alia Bhat’s stellar performance, it ended up becoming a ‘folklore’. He had added that while signing away the rights of the story, he had made Meghna Gulzar promise that she will not tinker with the story. He had added that he feels backstabbed by Gulzar. He had also added that when ‘Lady Sehmat’ had returned to India, a band had played the national anthem and she had saluted the tricolour as a proud woman. The author had also revealed that Lady Sehmat had wanted Alia to play the character.