Made in Heaven Season 2 has attracted significant attention, especially Episode 5, titled The Heart Skipped a Beat, featuring Radhika Apte. The audience has notably applauded its portrayal of a Dalit wedding. Even Prakash Ambedkar, the grandson of BR Ambedkar, took to X (formerly Twitter) to commend the show's writers and the episode's director, Neeraj Ghaywan, for highlighting the 'assertion, defiance, and resistance' embodied by a Dalit woman's character in the episode. Nonetheless, the show's creators are facing criticism from Yashica Dutt, a Columbia University graduate and author of the book Coming Out As Dalit.
Yashica Dutt voiced her concerns in an extensive post, revealing that the show's creators had drawn inspiration from her life for Radhika's character without obtaining Dutt's consent or acknowledging her contribution.
Now, Tarun Tahiliani also expressed his disappointment over the situation where his trust was breached by featuring counterfeit designs from an imaginary designer named Akshay Jaiswal, instead of his genuine creations. To provide context, Mrunal Thakur showcased Tarun Tahiliani's clothing in the second episode of the show 'Beauty And The Beast'. However, the show misrepresented the attire by attributing it to the fictional designer Akshay Jaiswal.
Meanwhile, in response to Dutt's claims, the show's producers Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti went on to elaborate on Radhika’s character and how it is distinct from Yashica’s life or her book Coming Out as Dalit. Their statement read as, "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. 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.”
The statement also addressed the use of the phrase ‘Coming Out,’ noting that it originated in the 1950s and therefore wasn’t derived from Yashica’s book. “‘Coming out’ is a 1950’s academic LGBTQIA term that was first used by Mr Sumit Baudh in the Indian caste identity context in 2007. He used this in an article he wrote for Tarshi. A decade later it was used by Ms Dutt in her book. This term has since become common parlance for reclaiming caste identity.”
Author Alleges Made In Heaven 2 Makers For Plagiarism
A segment of her message on Twitter recounted the scene featuring the Dalit author, who hails from Columbia and authored a book on Coming Out, and who recounted her grandmother's role in manual toilet cleaning (as a tribute to Ambedkar), asserting her individuality with her future partner, left a profound impact.
The past few days have been overwhelming. I continue to support @ghaywan’s excellent work, now with Made in Heaven and earlier with Geeli Pucchi on Netflix. But this needs to be said. pic.twitter.com/tU1xro3QzC— Yashica Dutt (@YashicaDutt) August 14, 2023
She added witnessing a depiction of her own life on screen, albeit altered, was a surreal experience. Yet this was followed by a sense of heartbreak. Although the words were her own, her name was conspicuously absent. What could have been a celebration of shared ideas now carries a sense of sadness. The very concepts she has cultivated and for which she continues to face considerable backlash for speaking out were employed without permission or acknowledgement.
She further emphasised that the history of Dalits includes a persistent pattern of appropriation, erasure, neglect, and exclusion from their own narratives. Among Dalits, women have often been the most vulnerable to this appropriation, as their contributions are frequently undervalued. This scenario has perpetuated a cycle where others lay claim to their efforts, leaving Dalit women's labour seemingly devoid of significance. However, in this instance, there is a distinct departure from this trend. The process of reclaiming her work, value, and impact on discourse and history is underway, defying the conventional expectations imposed on her as a woman who is typically pressured to temper her expressions of anger.
The Made in Heaven episode's portrayal of a Dalit woman and her inter-caste Buddhist wedding is undeniably impactful. Regrettably, this portrayal undermines her role in shaping these very ideas.
Even though Yashica Dutt's name was included in the roster of contributors acknowledged by director Neeraj Ghaywan in his Instagram post, Dutt contends that Neeraj's recognition came about only following widespread inquiries regarding the absence of her credits. She also raised attention to the well-established and persistent tendency in Hindi films and television to draw from diverse sources in order to shape their narratives.
Concluding her message, she appealed to the creators of Made In Heaven, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, to recognise her life's dedication.
Who Is Yashica Dutt?
Yashica Dutt is an Indian journalist, author, and activist known for her work on social justice issues, particularly those related to caste discrimination and identity. She gained prominence for her memoir Coming Out as Dalit, in which she openly discusses her experiences as a Dalit woman and challenges the prevailing social norms and stereotypes associated with caste in India.
Yashica Dutt has been an advocate for Dalit rights and has used her platform to raise awareness about the discrimination and challenges faced by Dalits in Indian society. She has written extensively on caste issues and has been a vocal voice in discussions about social equality and justice.