An 'inseparable' friendship turned ugly on Saturday when the Oshiwara police arrested dialogue writer Rekkha Modi for allegedly threatening Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi star Smriti Iraani.
Along with Rekkha, police also held model coordinator Rashmi Kapadia for making the threatening calls.
"I have been framed by insiders," Rekkha told Sunday Mid Day. Rekkha has been with Balaji since the last four years, writing dialogues for top-rated serials like Kyunki…, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii and Kasauti Zindagi Kii.
Insiders were shocked by the turn of events – cast members would often leave Smriti and Rekkha alone for their gossip sessions when she visited the sets for hours together. They were considered very close; Rekkha would often confide in Smriti and was said to know everything about the star.
"I have known Smriti since Kyunki began," Rekkha said. "We have been good friends and it feels bad that she named me as a suspect after all these years."
Rekkha added that they had a good relationship till now, even writing speeches last year when Smriti campaigned for the Bharatiya Janata Party. "Smriti is known for her short temper and we have had disagreements. But it has never affected our personal relationship."
In fact, Kyunki cast members confessed that they would often get Rekkha (whom they called Remo Modi) to cajole Smriti onto the sets when she didn't turn up.
While most claimed not to have a clue when the relationship soured, some sources said that they always found Rekkha to be "weird" and felt that her obsession with Smriti could have led to this behaviour. (hahaha)Its cast also feared that they would have to make statements to the police and that their phones were being tapped.
In her pre-Balaji days, Rekkha also worked with the Hindi magazine Meri Saheli and channels like In Mumbai and Zee. She was identified as part of Ekta Kapoor's inner circle in the Balaji camp. In fact, a few months ago she had picked up cudgels against Amar Upadhyay in a film magazine for his remarks against the production house.
Rekkha believes it was people within the serial who have been behind her arrest. "For the last one month, there has been a concentrated effort to throw me out of the serial." Kyunki is all set to take another 20-year leap and characters, including that of Smriti's, are about get a makeover.
Rekkha's fate now hangs in the balance after the case. A Balaji spokesperson said that a decision on Rekkha would be taken by Ekta Kapoor.
"Rekkha has been freelancing with us for the last four years and it has been a shock about her involvement in the case." While the company has denied that Rashmi is with Balaji, sources said that he had been a familiar face. "Rashmi is well-known and has also done bit roles in Balaji serials," said the source.
Asked whether she knows Rashmi, Rekkha said, "He usually hangs around the set and I've seen him. More than that, I have no association with him."
Smriti Iraani had filed a First Information Report with Oshiwara police after repeatedly receiving death threats on phone for over a fortnight.
"The callers not only threatened me, but my two innocent children as well," Irani said. On Friday, the police arrested Rekkha Modi and Rashmi Kapadia after tracing the calls.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Amitabh Gupta said, "They threatened Irani for professional reasons. We have strong evidence against them." Both Modi and Kapadia have been released on bail.
• Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi
• Kahani Teri Meri
• Kya Hadsa Kya Haqeeqat
• Is Duniya ke Sitare (A show by Saira Banu)
• Film-based shows for In Mumbai channel and Zee.
What TV stars say
I know Smriti, so I know what she must be going through...
I knew both Smriti and Rekkha while I was working in Kyunki… I still can't believe it. One has to draw the line between fiction and reality.
The TV community is like a family and if there are any differences there is no need to make threats. I hope they solve the issue amicably.
It's shocking. But I guess it's inevitable as television stars are more prominent than movie stars. As money comes into television, such incidents are bound to happen.