Rockstar Baba showcases his new film MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart. Patcy N and Afsar Dayatar capture the mood at the huge concert in Sirsa, Haryana, to promote the film.
Spiritual leader-turned-actor Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan is ready to grace the big screen once again.
After MSG: The Messenger of God and MSG 2: The Messenger, he will be seen in the third film in the series called MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart. It will release on October 7.
Recently, the Rockstar Baba promoted his film with a concert at the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa city in Haryana.
It was on September 23, 1990, that Guru Shah Satnam publicly conferred sainthood and passed on the spiritual leadership of the order upon Gurmeet Ram Rahim.
Therefore, the latter chose the same date to launch his new film's trailer.
Reportedly, some 40 lakh people attended the mega event.
Fans lit some 1,50,000 lamps to create a world record.
Two drone cameras shot the event for the Guinness Book of World Records.
After lighting the lamps, the Baba changed into his MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart get-up.
He sang a couple of songs, showcased the trailer and interacted with the assembled media.
He also announced his fourth film called Online Gurukul, which is slated to release in January.
The Baba has various names given to him by his followers, from Babaji, Guruji, Param Pitashree and Pitajee.
Entering the Dera headquarters is an experience altogether. Spread over a huge premises, it houses an international school, girls college, engineering college, hospital, medical store, clothing showroom and a cinema hall.
The Dera has its own volunteers called the Green S, who help people during disasters, rescue missions and calamities.
There are places to eat and stay in the ashram, like the Food Party restaurant, Kashish Resort and even a 5-star MSG Resort.
Everything available is homegrown, from rice, flour, potatoes, vegetables, pulses, sugar, jaggery, ghee, turmeric, masala and aloe vera. They have other products too like soap, detergenst, face wash, scrub, cold drink and ice cream.
The Dera has 40 ashrams all over India.
The Baba has three daughters -- Amarpreet, Charanpreet and Honeypreet -- and a son.
MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart has been co-directed by Honeypreet and co-stars Charanpreet.
Meet some of Baba's followers
Sonu, who is in his early 30s, works as a driver with the Dera. He ferries people from Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan to Sirsa.
He doesn't get a monthly salary. Instead, he gets between Rs 10,000 and 20,000 whenever he visits his family. That, of course, happens only when the Baba gives him permission. He hasn't been home for the last three months but he has no complaints.
There are groups of 15 people each, who are in charge of the cars at the Dera. The maintenance and petrol costs get divided between them, and they work for free.
Interestingly, the Baba never travels alone. When he leaves the Dera, 35 vehicles follow him.
Geeta Verma, 30, has been a bhakt of Gurmeet Ram Rahim since she was a child. She hails from Kurukshetra, Haryana.
"I saw his second film six times! He makes good films,' she says loyally.
Geeta is a volunteer of the Green S, and her job includes serving food in the langar, gate-keeping or fanning people who attend the satsang.
Her mother-in-law Kamlesh has been doing seva for the last 40 years.
Pargat Bhagu, 50, who has sung and acted in Punjabi films, hails from Bhatinda.
In 2003, he started following Gurmeet Ram Rahim, and attends the satsangs regularly. In 2007, he left Bhatinda and settled down in Sirsa.
"Even though I was earning well in my hometown, I wanted personal peace. That's why I came to Baba," he reveals, referring to his income from his live performances and private shows in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
"It is my daily duty to sing at the satsangs. I don't get paid for it but get blessings. Only if Baba is not in town, I do shows outside," he adds.
"I have seen all the MSG movies and loved them! He has done everything from script-writing, direction, stunts, set design and acting. He is a one-man army," Bhagu says.
He feels the third installment in the series will do even bigger business.
Even though he is a popular singer in Punjab, he hasn't sung in the MSG movies, but he doesn't mind.
"I follow Guruji's aadesh. I don't even wish to sing in MSG films," he says.
Ritu Insaan, 27, Uma Insaan, 20, and Kaifi are from Diwani in Rohtak, Haryana. They traveled for three and a half hours to attend Babaji's concert.
Ritu has been his admirer since class 6 while Uma joined nine years ago.
Kaifi is new to this cult; she joined the organisation only six months ago.
She reveals that she went through a big problem and her faith in the Baba helped her a lot.
Lucky Chopra, 28, has been a follower since the age of 16.
After completing his graduation from Delhi University, he took up a job at Pizza Hut and then later at a BPO. In 2010, he started working with the Dera Sacha Sauda in the MSG Hotel.
"I get a salary, I am not doing this for seva," he explains. "I am happy because my previous salaries were too low. Here, everything is good. Not many are educated here so when an educated person joins, he is treated and paid well."
Chopra earns a salary of Rs 30,000, double his previous income. He also has a place to stay with his parents. The food is free and his clothes and shoes are paid for.
"Since I don't have to travel, all my money is saved," he says.
Photographs and Video: Afsar Dayatar