01:21 GMT22 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Sheela Birnstiel, better known as Ma Anand Sheela, is an Indian-born American–Swiss convicted criminal and former spokeswoman of the Rajneesh Movement. In 1986 she pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bio-terror attack.

    In an interview with the Hindustan Times, Ma Anand Sheela revealed that she had sent a legal notice to renowned Bollywood-turned-Hollywood actress Priyanka Chopra who announced she was starring in a biopic based on the former's life.

    The 70-year-old, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, denied permission to make any such film.

    “I told her I do not give her permission to do (the) film because I have not chosen her... In Switzerland, we send legal notices very simply. I sent her an email which is accepted there as legal,” she said in the interview.

    Anand Sheela also shared that she never heard back from the actress.

    “Not even a courtesy letter that they received my notice but that’s not an issue, maybe she never had the opportunity to meet me or make time to meet me and it is no big issue... not everybody has the time to meet me,” she said.

    On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show",  Priyanka Chopra said that she is working on a biopic which is based on Ma Anand Sheela’s life. She also revealed that the film will be directed by Barry Levinson.

    However, Anand Sheela says that if ever a film will be made on her, she wants young actress Alia Bhatt to play her role on big screen.

    “I saw bits of a film that my sister was watching, and I thought, I looked like her (Alia) when I was young. I asked my sister, ‘Did I look like her when I was young? Do you remember’? And she said, ‘Yes, you do’. I feel she has the spunk in her that I had. Spunk is very necessary and it is very natural, it is not artificial, not cosmetic, it is genuine,” said the 69-year-old.

    She was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and paroled after 39 months in 1984 for the Rajneeshee bioterror attack that involved the food poisoning of 751 individuals in The Dalles, Oregon, through the deliberate contamination of salad bars at ten local restaurants with Salmonella.

    A group of followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) led by Ma Anand Sheela had hoped to incapacitate the voting population of the city so that their own candidates would win the 1984 Wasco County elections.

    The incident was the first and is the single largest bioterrorist attack in United States history.


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