Updated: February 13, 2015 1:31:27 pm
The man on the screen raised the Indian flag and waited for the beat. In the cinema hall, an audience waited, too. When the song began, “Jiyenge Marenge Desh Ke Liye (We’ll live and die for the country), some of the crowd got to their feet, dancing and singing along. Others remained seated but clapped to keep time to the music. Sitting in the last row of the theatre at the Delhi premiere of his debut film, MSG: The Messenger of God, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insan watched with a beatific smile– this was exactly what he’d aimed for. A movie for his masses, a message for the ages. And if the audience at the posh PVR Select Citywalk hall is anything to go by, the religious leader of 12-15 lakh Dera Sacha Sauda followers in NCR has a hit on his hands.
Read: Schoolgirls with angel wings, the Guru in flight at MSG first show
“We knew the film would be released, no matter what,” said Dinesh Insan, one of the organisers of the premiere. “Hona hi tha (it had to happen). On Wednesday evening the film premiered in Mumbai, tomorrow we have a special show in Sirsa,” he adds. In his mid-40s, Dinesh has been a staunch follower of the “Sant” for the past 15 years and took time out of his day job in the IT industry to ensure that this film would receive an opening Dera Sacha Sauda followers have been waiting for.
At the entrance to hall number 6, a posse of police are on standby. Entry is free but the event is being tightly monitored by men in black suits. There is a section of seats for the media but apart from one or two seats, the hall is packed. This is a momentous occasion and it’s significance is not lost on the crowd. For them, this is not a film mired in controversy; not the reason behind the resignation of Leela Samson from the CBFC and certainly not cause for any kind of religious dispute. This is a family, community event and provisions have been made — vegetarian food packets and mineral water bottles are being handed to everyone.
But back to the film: MSG, the character Insan plays in the film is based on himself. He is the benevolent leader of his people, dressed in glittering vests and dhoti-style pants in a range of bright colours (not unlike the man sitting in the last row, one hand resting in a tub of popcorn), fighting injustice and evil whenever it appears — and it appears frequently. Sometimes it can even be close to home: Alice, an Ukranian journalist (played by Oleksandra Semen) who comes to stay with MSG, she seems to be hiding something. But MSG won’t cast a doubt on her till he has proof. Because when he does, all hell will break loose. The fight sequences get messy and bloody for his enemies and even though they lend themselves to great cheer on and off-screen, MSG would like to avoid them: he is a peaceful man and why draw blood when you can sing a meaningful song?
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