Ma Anand Sheela on Priyanka Chopra playing her: ‘I have no ability to judge someone in the film role’


Ma Anand Sheela, the controversial one-time aide to spiritual leader Osho, has spoken about the upcoming documentary Searching For Sheela, and possible narrative projects being made about her life. Searching for Sheela is executive produced by Shakun Batra, who is working on a series based on her time as aide to Osho. A rival project, starring Priyanka Chopra, is also in the works.

In an interview, Shakun said that he wouldn’t want either project to examine only the ‘superficial’ aspects of Sheela’s life, but as a long-time listener of Osho, would want larger themes to be addressed.

Asked about it, he told Film Companion, “That’s a separate show that Priyanka has been working on. People want to tell this story, and I can see why everyone is so keen, and I’m sure everyone has their own take on it.” He said that he is more concerned with ‘trying to understand Osho’ and the ‘idea of awareness that he constantly spoke about’.

Asked about Priyanka’s casting, Sheela chimed in, “I’m a bad judge on that issue. I have no ability to judge someone in the film role. Only thing I would say I have been natural and Shakun (Batra) will have a hard task of looking for someone natural.”

While Alia Bhatt was attached to Shakun’s project, Priyanka has brought in director Barry Levinson to helm her project, for Amazon Prime Video. Sheela had previously told Hindustan Times that she had sent Priyanka a legal notice, asking her to stop work on the project. “I told her I do not give her permission to do [the] film because I have not chosen her… In Switzerland, we send legal notices very simply. I sent her an email which is accepted there as legal,” she said.

Also read: Ma Anand Sheela hasn’t given Priyanka Chopra permission for biopic, says Alia Bhatt has the necessary spunk to play her

Shakun in a recent interview with Hindustan Times said that he’s going to jump back in development on his Sheela show, which he described as ‘ambitious’ and ‘very close’ to his heart. “I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” he said. Searching for Sheela will be released on Netflix on April 22.

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