Yashica Dutt, a Dalit writer and journalist, has accused the makers of Made In Heaven 2 of copying her ideas and life story without her consent or giving her any credit.
For its depiction of intricate and varied people and issues, the second season of the well-liked Amazon Prime series Made in Heaven, which debuted on August 13th, has been earning raving reviews from critics and audiences alike. Yashica Dutt, a Dalit writer and journalist, has accused the makers of the show of copying her ideas and life story without her consent or giving her any credit.
Here are five things you should know about the controversy:
1. Who is Yashica Dutt? A Dalit journalist and writer named Yashica Dutt has contributed to periodicals like The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, and The New York Times. Additionally, she is the author of Coming Out as Dalit, a memoir about her experience concealing and exposing her Dalit identity in a caste-based society. The book, which was released in 2019, was praised by critics for its brave and honest narrative.
2. What's the issue? Actress Radhika Apte portrays Pallavi Menke, a successful Dalit author who has published a book called Denied and is asked to speak at a literary festival, in the fifth episode of Made in Heaven season 2, titled The Heart Skipped a Beat. Yashica, who had comparable difficulties when coming out as a Dalit in public, served as the inspiration for Pallavi's portrayal. But nowhere in the show's credits or acknowledgements is Yashica's name mentioned.
3. What did Yashica say? On August 14th, Yashica issued a lengthy message on Twitter expressing her anger and hurt at the choice to utilize her narrative without her permission or credit. She expressed amazement at seeing her image on screen without her knowledge or consent and added that she felt as though her privacy and dignity had been violated. She also noted that this was not the first instance of dominating castes in popular culture and media appropriating or erasing Dalit contributions.
She insisted that the creators give her the proper credit and appreciation for her contributions and suggestions. She captioned her post: “It’s been an overwhelming few days. Seeing my likeness on screen without warning or permission was a roller-coaster starting from thrill and excitement to sadness and loss. I continue to support @neeraj.ghaywan’s excellent work, whether now with Made in Heaven or Geeli Pucchi before. But this needs to be addressed."
4. Makers take? Neeraj Ghaywan, a Dalit filmmaker known for his critically acclaimed works like Masaan and Geeli Pucchi, directed the episode. On Instagram, he addressed Yashica's accusations and acknowledged that the interview Yashica gave to The Quint in 2019—during which she discussed her book and her experiences as a Dalit woman—had served as an inspiration for him. Before filming the episode, he claimed to have tried to get in touch with Yashica but had been unable to do so owing to a communication error.
5. How does it affect things? On social media, the dispute has prompted a discussion on the politics and ethics of representation and appropriation in Indian literature and film. Numerous individuals have voiced their support for Yashica and chastised the creators for their carelessness and insensitivity. Others have questioned the show's portrayal of Dalit concerns and personalities, questioning its veracity and reliability.