Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh ‘Insan,’ who became an overnight Youtube sensation with his music video Love Charger, has kicked up quite a storm with his acting debut.
(Image, left: Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insan at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday. Photograph: Afsar Dayatar/Rediff.com)
The raging censorship row over his film MSG: Messenger of God, triggered after it was cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, escalated with Censor Board chief Leela Samson’s resignation.
Meanwhile, followers and detractors of the godman are locked in a heated conversation online about the film’s content which, the Censor Board in its initial review, had described as highly controversial.
The initial release date of the film having been pushed back from January 16 to 23, the godman called a press conference at the Novotel hotel in Juhu, a western Mumbai suburb, on January 19.
Dressed in tie-and-dye harem pants, running shoes and a bejewelled black t-shirt, the 47-year-old godman arrived amidst chants and applause from his followers, while the mother of Flora Saini (one of the female leads in the film), who was sitting in the audience, urged everyone around her to stand up when the godman enters the room.
Before the interaction began, we were subjected to over 10 minutes of loud, awfully executed set pieces from MSG, in which the DSS chief is vanquishing ‘villains,’ driving cars as blindingly flashy as his clothes, and delivering one-liners with the ease and authority of, well, a real-life godman.
When a mediaperson points out that the film’s promo has a lot of violent scenes with the godman thrashing people and vehicular stunts, he punctuates his reply with terms of endearment like ‘beta.’
That is not our intention. We just want to weed out social evils like drug abuse and prostitution. We want to tell the world that girls are not helpless. We want to empower them.”
While the film has been labelled an ad for his public face as a godman and features elements that some states fear could lead to communal strife -- Punjab has already banned the film for the same reason -- Insan claims there is not an iota of controversial content in his film.
“Nothing in the movie is offensive. We aren't hurting anyone or any religion,” he asserts.
While we will know if it is true after the film releases, we wonder how it will hold up at the box-office.
Watch this space for more on MSG: The Messenger of God.