Oh my eyes. I was at last night’s premiere of MSG, Messenger Of God, and I’m still to recover. The Dera Sacha Sauda chief who appears “In and As” in the movie, was right there, amongst us lesser mortals. And I was hard put to figure where there was more glitter, off or on screen.
But make no mistake, MSG is no movie. It is a lavish home video shot in a very homely style (‘coz silly sophistication would ruin it, no?), fashioned cunningly like your old-style Bollywood potboiler, for the delectation of his vast number of fan-followers. It can also be called “In Which Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan Saves The World In 197 Minutes”.
“Koi kehta hai sant, koi kehta hai farishta, koi kehta hai guru, koi kehta hai bhagwaan, par hum toh hai sirf ek Insan (Some call me a saint, some an angel, some teacher, some god, but I am just a human)!” With this declaration, at which thunderous applause ensues amongst the genuflecting bhakts in the tony South Delhi auditorium, the Messenger Of God starts ticking off his list. Drugs? Dhishoom. Alcohol? Dhadaam. Bald baddie speaking bad English out to assassinate him? Bang bang.
At each dialogue, his followers, a motley collection of peroxide fashionistas in killer heels carrying holdall-sized bags which cost upwards of a lakh, modest salwar-kameez-clad old ladies, hyper-excited little children (one jumped up and down through the film, pumping his fist), roared approval. It was like being at a live sporting event, with arenas on both sides.
Like all superheroes, MSG too has a secret weapon: a liquid called ruhaani jam. Make no mistake, it is no evil intoxicant; it is a potent potion which will rid you of all desire to partake of sharaab. And doubtless send you straight off to do khoon daan. Yea, MSG believes in blood donation on a massive scale: the camera pulls back and we see rows and rows of smiling supine bodies, all busily donating away.
It could easily be a ’70s style masala film, starring the invincible hero, the sorry buffoon who is the butt of all jokes, the mandatory vaguely foreign-looking-and-sounding bad guy (this one looked a lot like Vin Diesel), and also, ta da, a blonde bimbette gushing all over the place (please, please, can I make a documentary on you, please, please, says she; he nods benignly, and she is in paroxysms). And the car-and-motorbike chases.
The “film” is long and excruciatingly awful only for non-believers. For his adoring followers, each scene is a super-hit. If Bollywood can, why can’t MSG? If Amitabh could do it back in the early ’80s (remember Yaraana?) why can’t he have suits with every single primary coloured sequin stitched in? Like Salman, he has his bank of pithy sayings. Like Ajay, he strides slo-mo. And unlike those that Aamir’s PK castigated, he has a direct connection to the Almighty: what else is a “Love Charger” (pronounced charzer, I’ll have you know) for?
Now waiting, with bated breath, for the MSG Fashion Line.