Netflix released the first trailer for Searching for Sheela, a feature documentary that catches up with the breakout individual of its smash hit docuseries Wild Wild Country, Ma Anand Sheela. The righthand woman of the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (AKA Osho), Sheela instantly became the most talked-about character of the series, owing to her alleged part in one of the worst bio-terror attacks in U.S. history. Watch the Searching for Sheela trailer below.
Searching for Sheela Trailer
Who is Ma Anand Sheela? Simply a devoted follower of a false prophet, or a dangerously charismatic figure in her own right? Wild Wild Country and the law appeared to answer that question — with Sheela sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for her alleged part in what became known as the Rajneesh bio-terror attack. She was paroled after just 39 months, but her part in the operation — in which she was ultimately accused of several crimes from arson to mass poisonings, as well as attempted murder, to which she pled guilty — has not been forgotten. But Searching for Sheela aims to catch up with the woman more than 30 years after the attack, as she returns to India after decades of exile. In the documentary film, Sheela appears to grapple with her legacy as a criminal and a strange newfound status as pop culture icon.
Sheela served as Osho’s lieutenant throughout the early 1980s, helping to move his followers known as the Rajneesh from an ashram in India to Wasco County, Oregon. As tensions within the community rose, Sheela aimed to rig the local election by recruiting homeless people to vote for her and Osho, and conspiring to poison citizens to stop opposing votes leading to the 1984 Rajneesh bio-terror attack.
This is just one of two film projects in the works about Sheela. In addition to this documentary, a scripted Amazon Studios feature film starring Priyanka Chopra and directed by Barry Levinson with a script from Nick Yarborough is also in the works.
Here is the synopsis for Searching for Sheela:
She(ela) is back, and she’s here to stay. Osho’s controversial and sassy ex-secretary, Ma Anand Sheela returns to India after 34 years of exile and people just can’t get enough of her. Searching for Sheela is an intimate look into her journey across India, observing the rebranding of her as a pop-culture icon, with audiences unable to decide if they deem her a “criminal” or remain in awe of her badass secretary days. Sheela, now frail and 70, in the twilight of her life, appears to be seeking redemption, but is she? And if she is, does a world consumed by spectacle allow her the space to?
Searching For Sheela debuts on Netflix on April 22, 2021.
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