Priyanka Chopra to play bioterrorist Ma Anand Sheela

The Editors
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From Harper's BAZAAR

Priyanka Chopra has been cast as 80s bioterrorist Ma Anand Sheela in a new film.

Sheela's story featured as part of 2019 Netflix series Wild Wild Country, which documented the rise of Indian cult leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Sheela served as his personal secretary from 1981 through 1985, and supervised his move to relocate his followers — known as the Rajneesh — from India to the small town of Wasco County, Oregon. Here, they created a huge ranch and conducted numerous criminal activities, including attempted murder and biological warfare, the largest ever on US soil.

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In 1986, Sheela pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack, when 751 people in The Dalles, Oregon, were given food poisoning after salad bars were deliberately contaminated with salmonella. The aim was in incapacitate enough people in the area so that the Rajneesh candidates would win local 1984 elections. Sheela was sentenced to 20 years in prison and was released on bail after 39 months. She now works at a care home in Switzerland.

Barry Levinson, who is known for Rain Man and Donnie Brasco, will direct and the project will be produced by Amazon Studios, reports Deadline. Although Chopra has been enlisted as the lead role, no other casting detils have been released.

The actress is also reportedly starring in The Matrix reboot, alongside Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss who will reprise their original roles.

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