The controversial Ma Anand Sheela, who became an overnight sensation after her appearance on the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, has said that she was misrepresented in the series. In an appearance on The Ranveer Show podcast, she said that she agreed to appear in the documentary because her father had urged her to speak her truth.
Sheela admitted, however, that she hasn’t yet seen the six-part series, which told the story of the spiritual guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s (more popularly known as Osho) efforts to create a utopic society in the US. Sheela worked as his right-hand woman, and was tried and convicted of attempted murder for her role in the 1884 Rajneeshee bioterror attack. After serving a portion of her sentence, she moved to Switzerland.
Asked about her portrayal on the show, Sheela said, “It backfired on them, let’s put it that way. Because the raw material they had used, that material talks for itself, our work, and our devotion to Bhagwan. They have bigger problems now, in their own country.”
Asked why she felt targeted, Sheela continued, “I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say. I was filmed for five days, from 9 till the evening… Whatever questions they asked me, I have given them answers to each and every question. They wanted to give me questions ahead of time, but I said, ‘No need, I know what I have lived, I know who Bhagwan is’. We did very concentrated work, after that, what they do is their problem and not mine.”
While Wild Wild Country didn’t gloss over Sheela’s many controversies, another Netflix project — the hourlong documentary Searching for Sheela — portrayed her like a rock star.
Two rival film projects about Sheela were ‘announced’ — one starring Priyanka Chopra and directed by Barry Levinson, and another, a series starring Alia Bhatt and directed by Shakun Batra. Batra told the Indian Express earlier this year that his project is on the back-burner while he reassesses what to do next. Priyanka’s film was publicly denounced by Sheela herself.