Searching For Sheela is a Dharmatic Entertainment venture and that did make us apprehensive about its content since we saw the trailer. Karan Johar just can't do away with glam and style even in a documentary. Turns out our fears weren't dumbfounded. Critics have royally slammed the documentary on Maa Sheela, the ex-right-hand woman of Bhagwan Rajneesh, for having a shallow approach. Apart from that, they were also appalled by the fact that the documentary doesn't even have a director's credit. Searching For Sheela Trailer: Netflix’s Documentary on Ma Anand Sheela Looks Like a Perfect Sequel to Wild Wild Country
FirstPost: What are the chances that the folks at Dharmatic Entertainment, the streaming subsidiary of Karan Johar's Dharma Productions, already know they have goofed up in a big way with Searching for Sheela? Once the credits roll, there lies a conspicuous absence of a 'director' in the film. I might be speculating here, but it seems like no self-respecting individual wants to be known for directing this glorified V-log parading as a documentary, on one of the most enigmatic pop-culture figures since 2018.
IBT: Searching For Sheela was supposed to be an unbiased documentary, about the life of Ma Anand Sheela. However, barring a few news clip footages, Searching For Sheela becomes quite focused on Sheela's extravagant, wine-drinking life, with a short glimpse of her efforts as a social worker in Switzerland, that too comes with a picturesque of the mountains in the country. It hardly dives deep into Rajneeshee but focuses more on how South Delhi women perceive this elderly woman.
Decider: Those who were obsessed with Wild Wild Country might be fascinated to tail Sheela for an hour even if Searching for Sheela tends to be shallow fluff with the occasional spicy moment to prove that she still adheres to her fiery public persona. She mingles with designers and celebrities, holds the audience in swank homes of the well-moneyed. The intent here is to show Sheela in a positive light and give her an opportunity to further insist her innocence of all the bad things she insists the media refuses to cease perpetuating — “Redemption lies in guilt. That’s why I cannot redeem myself,” she says at the end of the film. Dostana 2: Akshay Kumar To Save Karan Johar’s Film After Kartik Aaryan Gets Sacked – Reports
Times Of India: At best, Searching For Sheela is a behind-the-scenes episode of the makeover of a 70-year-old lady with a colourful past, and also the promotional tour of a book. We say colourful and not controversial because that is exactly how she has been projected in the documentary: words like ‘interesting’, ‘charming’ and ‘devoted’ keep flying out of everyone’s mouth and the fact that she might have inflicted serious damage and caused grave distress to thousands of people has no room for this glamourised outing. “This is power? We have it,” Sheela proclaims, the lady sure knows how to appease her audience; we give her that.