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Forget Kangana Ranaut’s controversies for a minute, here’s Simran’s real ‘bombshell’ story

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 14-09-2017

Ever since Kangana Ranaut took the stand in Rajat Sharma’s mock adalat, the discussion has been about Kangana Ranaut. Are her allegations against Hrithik Roshan true? Is Kangana more sinned against than sinning? What happened between Aditya Pancholi and Kangana? But amid the controversies, what nobody seems to be talking about is the August 15 release, starring Kangana in and as Simran.

The film became a postscript even in the AIB video, which called out Bollywood for its inherent sexism. Despite the row over the film’s writing credit between Kangana and Apurva Asrani, the spotlight has been taken over by the narrative of its lead star. But Simran has a ‘bombshell’ at its heart too, to be precise a bombshell bandit.

According to reports, the germ of this film’s idea started with a news item about Sandeep Kaur, dubbed Bombshell Bandit by the FBI. She embarked on a one-woman, five-week crime spree, robbing banks in Arizona, California, and Utah in the US. Serving a 66-month sentence in an American jail, the nursing student started on a life of crime to pay off her gambling debts. Unlike Sandeep, who is a Sikh who moved to the US as a child, Kangana plays Praful Patel aka Simran who is a Gujarati who moves to the US in search of a better life. Both are nurses by profession with an affinity for baccarat.

Sandeep’s story began as a 21-year-old who had just started living alone and was on her first trip to Las Vegas. In an account of her life in BBC, it says that her flirtation with gambling began innocently enough, “With a dizzying streak of beginner’s luck, Kaur says she won $4,000, and was “instantly hooked”. That first trip lead to a second, then a third, and soon she was flying to Vegas monthly, accompanied by her brother and a revolving cast of friends… Then she discovered baccarat, and suddenly nothing else in the world mattered. ‘I can walk past roulette,’ she says. ‘But if I even see baccarat, my heart leaps.’”

She squandered away over $200,000 (Rs 1.2 crore) she had saved over the years and then took debts from casinos. When she blew that away too, she borrowed money from loan sharks. She tried to vanish and start her life again but all in vain. The casino wanted its money back as did the loan sharks. Then, her conservative Sikh family got a whiff of her gambling.

And that is where her life of crime began. She would go on to rob four banks, one for less than $2000. She would rob the banks wearing wigs and designer glasses and without even owning a gun. She would simply hand over a typewritten sheet in cashier’s hand: “Tick Tock, I have a bomb.”

As the BBC report says, “It was a spectacle that culminated in Kaur’s arrest on 31 July 2014, after a desperate police pursuit. The 65-mile chase crossed three states and two time zones, reaching speeds of 130 mph.”

Watch: Raveena supports Kangana Ranaut

(Video provided by Lehren)

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