Let Ma Anand Sheela image makeover scheme begin. After the massive success of Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, in which she was revealed to be facing charges of fraud and attempted murder, a new Netflix documentary, Searching For Sheela, reframes the legacy of Rajneesh’s top aide as “a young girl from Gujarat who made it very, very big.”
The 70-year-old has returned to India after 34 years of exile and people are understandably curious about her life following her breakaway from the cult, particularly her relationship with Rajneesh which deteriorated rapidly thereafter. “Would you call your relationship with Osho unrequited?” asks Karan Johar. “He was also very much in love with me,” she replies. “He called you a criminal and this disturbs me,” says Barkha Dutt. Archival footage features him calling her a murderer and saying she will suffer “her whole life”.
Is the rebranding of her image as a pop-culture icon meant to bring Sheela some comfort in her old age? “What are you seeking from this? Redemption for yourself?” asks one journalist. It’s the one question she can’t quite answer. Searching For Sheela releases on Netflix on April 22.