Tag: Karan Johar

QUICK REVIEW: Searching for Sheela, Netflix


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, April 24, 2021: Sheela Birnstiel, earlier named Ma Anand Sheela, iconic cult leader Rajneesh’s Personal Secretary who flees Rajneeshpuram, to Switzerland to set up two care homes including “Matrusadan’, a home for caring for the disabled, visits India after 35 years in 2019. The 58 minutes documentary by two companies including Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions and starts off with she landing in Delhi and driving straight to a designer boutique for a new dress. The stage is set for her visit to different cities including her hometown Vadodara.

Her shady past includes her 20 years of conviction by a US court for attempted murder, assault, and role in the Rajneeshpuram bio-terror attack. She later is paroled after 39 months for good behavior. In fact, she had pleaded guilty to some charges against her. The chain of events that started off with her being a disciple of Acharya Rajneesh can be seen in Duplas Brothers ‘Wild Wild Country’, streamed earlier in 2018 on Netflix.

Lots of old footage of interviews and some clips from ‘Wild Wild Country’ with her India visit crisscross the loose narrative in the documentary. A sugar-coated sophisticated former criminal with designer clothes and cinema-type make-up builds up the 71-year-old lady’s hype as a celebrity. She is the darling of India’s English-speaking elite spread out in exclusive enclaves in different cities.


I did no wrong, she says. Was her being in love with Acharya Rajneesh Platonic, Barkha Dutt asks her. I was in love with him, she says. In one clip Acharya Rajneesh says, ” How can I be in love with a prostitute.”

Nothing new emerges in the documentary. Her visit to her home in Vadodara is nostalgic. She is recognized and enjoys a home swing. But little is explained or revealed why she chose Rajneesh. Or, was it just that things were happening. In fact, She says, “I wish I can move on…”

With parents & a young Sheela

She seems to be excited at the attention she gets in the glitter and wealth of Gurugram and Chhatarpur. “I feel like a dulha,” she says.

The documentary ends with she back in Switzerland. She deals with difficult patients. Is she balancing her past life? She is confident and looks relaxed. Does not appear to be a spiritualist. She is unapologetic. She is in her own world.

The Executive Producer is Shakun Batra. The director’s name is missing. In all, the story still remains sketchy.

I give it one and a half out of five stars.

PREVIEW: Ajeeb Daastaans (Hindi), NETFLIX – with Trailer

AjeebDaastaans_GeeliPucchi FF_
Ajeeb Daastaans – Geeli Pucchi Photo: NETFLIX

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 6 April 2021: The four-part ‘Ajeeb Daastaans’ (Hindi), produced by Dhamatic Entertainment and directed by Shashank Khaitan, Raj Mehta, Neeraj Ghaywan, and Kayoze Irani, the anthology releases on April 16, 2021, exclusively on Netflix

A twisted tale of lovers, a struggle for daily life, a calculated friendship, and a journey to find solace… Netflix’s Ajeeb Daastaans explores jealousy, entitlement, prejudices, and toxicity. Blurring the lines between right and wrong, the anthology explores the complexities of human behavior and relationships.

Writer and director Shashank Khaitan said, “My film Majnu explores the dynamics of three characters, their interpersonal relationships, and how they keep evolving with each scene. Jaideep, Fatima, and Armaan’s characters all want love on their own terms and the space to express themselves but are trapped within the norms of society, much like a lot of people around us. Working on a predefined theme about flawed relationships was a unique experience for me as this is the first time I made something so unusual yet realistic.”

Talking about his film, director Raj Mehta said, “Khilauna was made with the intention of bringing an unexpected storytelling experience to the audience. The story and the title itself might have different interpretations for each viewer and that is what makes it exciting. Nushrratt, Abhishek, and Inayat have this multi-dimensional relationship which adds depth to the film. We have presented imperfect characters, much like real life with no clear blacks or whites. It is entirely on your perspective and hopefully, the film will leave audiences feeling perplexed yet entertained!”

National Award-winning director, Neeraj Ghaywan on writing and directing his film said, “Geeli Pucchi explores the intersectional realities of two women from disparate worlds. They are both longing for an emotional connection which they end up finding in one another. It was truly inspiring to see Konkana and Aditi bring these characters and their relationship to life. Gelli Pucchi is a complex ride of emotions and I am very excited to see the audience’s reaction to it.”

Making his debut as a director, Kayoze Irani said, “Ankahi is all about emotions – those that can be expressed and those that are left unsaid. What attracted me to the film was the fact that communication doesn’t need to be verbal and a lot can be said without words. Manav and Shefali were a treat to direct and they lift the entire storyline. It’s an amazing feeling when lines written on paper transform into a beautiful vision because of fabulous acting and chemistry. The sense of fulfillment after completing a film is immense and I can’t wait to share it with the audience.”

Bringing together some of the finest creative talents from across India, Ajeeb Daastaans is produced by Dharmatic Entertainment.


Producers- Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta, Somen Mishra & Dharmatic Entertainment.


Director: Shashank Khaitan, Writer: Shashank Khaitan, Cast: Fatima Sana Shaikh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Armaan Ralhan


Director: Raj Mehta, Writer: Sumit Saxena, Cast: Nushrratt Bharuccha, Abhishek Banerjee, Inayat Verma

Geeli Pucchi

Director: Neeraj Ghaywan, Writers: Neeraj Ghaywan, Sumit Saxena, Cast: Konkona Sensharma, Aditi Rao Hydari


Director: Kayoze Irani, Writers: Uzma Khan, Sumit Saxena, Cast: Shefali Shah, Manav Kaul, Tota Roy Chowdhury


MOVIE REVIEW: Social media peril for the ‘Guilty’

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 19 March 2020: Watching Karan Johar’s ‘Guilty’ is a peep into the male psyche where a woman is not taken seriously. Even if she says “I have been raped”. She is doubted and advised to keep mum by family and friends. This is the genesis of ‘Guilty’ laced with the flair of the social media age.

Yes, it’s India and Delhi University (DU)’s St. Martin’s College (shot in St. Stephen’s College) where a popular DJ (VJ) allegedly rapes a girl (Tanu) in the presence of friends and his own girlfriend (Nanki). Tanu tweets about it. VJ is a politician’s son and attempts to stop Tanu from filing an FIR amidst all sorts of talk about her character.

Danish who is probing the case for a law firm wins a defamation case against Tanu’s family as the talk of ‘Me too’ reverberates the university. The rest of the movie traces the rather sketchy but concerted moves by Tanu to pin down VJ to face the law. The end is longish with the director falling into the trap of Bollywood style lecturing. Still, the movie (about two hours) gives the message of hope.

‘Guilty’ which is streaming on Netflix, has all the ingredients of an intense social drama with ‘stuff’ (explicit language, intimate scenes, social reality, boozing…) which the Indian censors disdain in movies released in cinema halls. I am sure this movie would have got ‘A’ with many cuts from the Indian censors.

This movie must be watched for the content. In ‘sanskari’ culture girls are supposed to remain silent in such situations. It is this that ‘Guilty’ confronts. And, social media can be a trigger to take the post ‘Me Too’ ahead.

Director Ruchi Narain makes the unsettling movie watchable making Kaira Advani (Nanki) give a good performance. Akansha Ranjan Kapoor (Tanu), Gurfateh Singh Pirzada ,Taher Shabbir, Dalip Tahil, Kunal Vijaykar, and Manu Rishi perform well.