For once, Salman bhai must be having sleepless nights, and Shahrukh Khan must already be counting his days in the industry. PK or no PK, Aamir ‘sincere’ Khan would probably be the only Khan of the troika who would somehow find a way to remain in the industry despite this tsunami. Even Rajinikanth must be mulling retirement after all.
To be released on January 16, ‘MSG: The Messenger of God’ is the debut feature film of a man described rather breathlessly as Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, the star and co-director of the movie. He is no ordinary human being, even though ‘Insan’ means human being.
The head of the Dera Sacha Sauda based in Sirsa (Haryana) has always been known to be extraordinary, be it his record-breaking sanitation drives and blood-donation camps; his love for wearing all possible colours in one dress; his support to different political parties at different times depending solely on who is more likely to grab power; his penchant for headgear ranging from kingly crowns to baseball caps; the cases of rape and murder against him and his marshalling of thousands of his followers to the court complex much before that guy called Rampal; his modified cars with heart-shaped fronts; an intelligence bureau report about possible training of a militia inside his dera; or even his long locks that just refuse to go grey.
Such adventures are the markers of a rockstar, whose prime hit — ‘Love Charger’ — has gathered over 14 lakh hits on YouTube. His forte is singing live and has already held over 100 ‘Ru-ba-Ru Nights’. The last time I wrote about his extraordinariness, a spokesperson called me and politely argued how guru-ji is no less than Rolling Stones. I politely agreed.
Yet, you may so far have been ignorant about him. That’s all passé now.
He is not only the hero of the movie, and co-directed it with TV series director Jeetu Arora Insan, but, according to the official website, “Reverend Guruji has also composed, written and directed the 7 songs incorporated in this film”.
“Corruption and ever increasing Drug Abuse is focused in this movie, which aims at reviving Humanitarian Values and promoting Social Welfare Work… It shall also be amusing to witness the combat of Truth with Corruption and lies, and how Truth Prevails!” the website explains, adding that the proceeds of the movie — shot in a “record” 67 days and to be released in four languages, including English and Hindi — would be used for medication of thalassemia patients across the globe.
If one goes by estimates that he has 2 crore followers and calculates the cost of a ticket at `100, the movie looks set to cross Rs 200 crore.
Appropriately, the trailer has guru-ji in his garish clothes, breaking bones with ease (obviously of the evil types); riding a bike that looks like a mechanised horse and appears to have three wheels; telling us that killing him would mean killing ourselves; playing rugby, and holding aloft the Tricolour. There is a brief dancing sequence, of course.
Trademark tackiness aside, the key message of MSG — apparently short for Mastana, Satnam, Gurmeet, an allusion to the three chiefs of the dera so far — is in the progression of the trailer.
First, he lists out all the things that people believe him to be — saint, messenger of god, guru or even God Almighty — and goes on to stress that he is nothing but a humble human being (yes, ‘insan’). In the middle, it shows his superhuman qualities and how ‘pita-ji’ (dear father) is a symbol and protector of the whole of India.
Even those planning to kill him refer to him as ‘guru-ji’! Having triumphed like superheroes always do, at the end he walks towards the screen and thunders: “Agar desh v srishti ki seva karna paap hai, to yeh paap hum aakhri saans tak karte rehenge” (If serving the country and the cosmos is a sin, this sin I would commit till my last breath).
This brute strength in the face of perceived hostility was the running thread in his first major song, where he called himself the son of a lion who wasn’t afraid of anyone.
The idea, apparently, is to pit everyone against guru-ji and yet show him as the saviour of everyone.
Indeed there can’t be any rules on how a saint can propagate his thoughts, and on whether or not pop music and movies can be part of that propaganda, but, as a lifelong admirer of his brazenness, I am a tad underwhelmed at how defensive, or counter-offensive, he seems in the trailer. What’s he got to fear when the Prime Minister sings his praises?
Guru-ji, you could have done even better, but I am booking my tickets anyway. This one, my friends, is not to be missed.