'Deny Claims That Yashica's Life Was Appropriated by Us': Made in Heaven 2 Team

Zoya Akhtar, Neeraj Ghaywan & others deny claims of Yashica Dutt about the Radhika Apte episode.

3 min read

The makers of Made In Heaven 2, namely Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti, Neeraj Ghaywan and Alankrita Srivastava, have taken to social media to put out a statement denying all claims made by author Yashica Dutt. Dalit writer Yashica, author of Coming Out as Dalit, had called out filmmaker Neeraj and the other filmmakers for using stories from her life and her ideas but not giving her due credits in the Radhika Apte episode.


'Deeply Disturbed With The Misleading Reports & Comments'

The statement began with the makers saying, "We are deeply disturbed with the misleading reports and comments in context of author Yashica Dutt claiming formal credit for her 'contribution' to Made In Heaven, a show set around wedding planners and remarkable brides who challenge prejudices deeply ingrained in our society."

The statement continued, "In Episode 5 - 'The Heart Skips a Beat', we peek into the life of Pallavi Menke, a fictional character. Pallavi Menke is a Maharashtrian Ambedkarite from the Vidarbha region, who studied law at Columbia University. She grew up using a caste-neutral surname and was called Pallavi Kumar. She has now reclaimed her original surname, Menke, a signifier of her true identity as a member of the Dalit community. Pallavi Menke is an academic who teaches at Columbia and is likely to be tenured as a professor."

Speaking about how the episode deals with the struggle Pallavi is facing with her in-laws while going into an inter-caste marriage the makers added, "The central conflict of the episode is whether Pallavi should fight to have the wedding rituals that are a signifier of her identity, or not."

The team denied claims made by Yashica that her contribution was 'erased.' "None of the above is drawn from Yashica Dutt's life or her book - 'Coming Out as Dalit.' We categorically deny any claim that Ms Dutt's life or work was appropriated by us."

"Menke's Character Hasn't Been Attributed With Coining The Term 'Coming Out'"

Addressing Yashica's remark that the term "coming out" was popularized by her the makers stated, "Coming Out is a 1950s academic LGBTQIA term that was first used by Mr Sumit Baudh in the Indian caste identity context in 2007... A decade later, it was used by Ms Dutt in her book. The term has since become common parlance for reclaiming caste-identity."

"In the episode, Pallavi Menke simply uses it in this context. The character does not attribute herself and neither has she been attributed with coining this term or being the pioneer of its usage in a Dalit context."

Referring to the book being written by Menke in the episode the makers said, "Pallavi Menke's fictional book 'Denied' is a hat tip to several books like Ants Among Elephants by Sujatha Gidla, Caste Matters by Suraj Yengde, Coming Out as Dalit by Yashica Dutt and Tarshi article by Sumit Baudh."

The statement concluded with, "We made this show with sincerity, passion and a beating heart and are overwhelmed with the love we have received. We will continue to platform stories and voices that are truly bigger than us."


What Yashica Dutt Claimed

As part of her statement on X (formerly Twitter) Yashica had claimed, "The scene where the Dalit author who is from Columbia, has written a book about 'Coming Out', and talks about how her grandmother 'manually cleaned toilets' (while wearing all blue as an homage to Ambedkar), asserts her selfhood with her life partner to-be, gave me chills. It was surreal to see a version of my life on screen that wasn't but yet was still me. But soon the heartbreak set in. They were my words but my name was nowhere. What could have been a celebration of our collective ideas was now tinged with sadness. The ideas I cultivated, that are my life's work, that I continue to receive immense hate still for just speaking, were taken without permission or credit.”

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