The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Manisha twin spills beans

Sept. 4: Manisha Koirala today knocked on the doors of the National Commission for Women, seeking justice as a “woman and an actress” for being depicted in an obscene manner in the Ek Chhoti Si Love Story even as her double in the Shashilal Nair-directed film, Jessica Ckoksi, alleged that “the whole thing was a huge publicity stunt, planned and executed by Nair and Manisha.”

“We have summoned a meeting of some 40 women’s organisations here this Thursday to rally to her support,” said commission chairperson Poornima Advani after her meeting with Manisha in New Delhi.

“We have not seen the film so we cannot comment on the film itself. But we have seen the posters and a magazine that has five coloured pages with different nude parts of the body. They definitely are in violation of the Indecent Representation Act,” Advani added.

Manisha said: “It encompasses the larger issue of dignity of women. If this can happen to someone like me, then I dread to imagine what would be happening to the common women.”

The actress filed an appeal in Bombay High Court against its decision to allow screening of the film.

In Mumbai, Manisha’s double Jessica said the controversy was generated for publicity and she was party to the plan. Accordingly, like Manisha, she had threatened to sue the director for misleading her. “The whole thing was a huge publicity stunt, planned and executed by Nair and Manisha. I was in it, too. There is no fight among any of us here. Nair needed the film to gain publicity as much as Manisha did,’’ she said.

Jessica argued that had it not been for the mud-slinging between Nair and Manisha, “very few would have been interested in a movie made by a director in the wilderness, starring an actress well past her prime.”

Her claims were fortified by the fact that Nair admitted that he had attended a party hosted by Manisha while they were in the thick of the controversy. “Yes, I invited myself to her birthday party, we are good friends,” the director said.

It is yet to be seen if the controversy bears fruit at the box office when the film is released across India on September 6.

But Jessica has “already gained”. “Look, I am getting offers now, even for good roles,” she says. “Who would have otherwise noticed a newcomer like me' Jo bhi ho, mere liye to accha hi hua (Whatever happens, this was good for me.)”

Manisha today circulated a letter from Nair and alleged a complete breach of the contract signed with her. “This is to inform you that portions of the film — which involve a certain level of physical exposure, have been shot with a duplicate. If you have any objections to any particular section we will replace it with alternate shots,” the letter specified. “Nair did not remove the shots even after I raised objections,” the actress alleged.

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