In­dian guru stars in films to spread mes­sage to the masses

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

He claims to have 50 mil­lion fol­low­ers and runs a spir­i­tual em­pire that pro­motes veg­e­tar­i­an­ism and cam­paigns against drug ad­dic­tion. But the self-styled God-man from the north In­dian state of Haryana has an­other pas­sion: Bol­ly­wood. The leader of a quasi-re­li­gious sect - who calls him­self Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji In­san - has launched a film fran­chise in which he stars as a Mes­sen­ger of God, or MSG for short, with di­vine pow­ers to save the world. Crit­ics say the films serve as pro­pa­ganda for his fol­low­ers, which In­san doesn’t dis­pute. Speak­ing re­cently with re­porters, the flam­boy­ant spir­i­tual guru said he was not try­ing to be­come a movie star but in­stead wanted to spread In­dian cul­ture along with his mes­sage of hu­man­ity to the masses.

“You will see in this film that our cul­ture was so pow­er­ful that the tech­nol­ogy that the aliens are bring­ing, it had al­ready been used by our an­ces­tors. That is why the scenes ap­pear larger than life. We should also show In­dia’s great­ness,” said In­san, whose sur­name means “hu­man” in Hindi and is adopted by all in his sect, which de­scribes it­self as a non­profit spir­i­tual and wel­fare or­ga­ni­za­tion. With a guar­an­teed au­di­ence among his fol­low­ers, In­san said he’s had lit­tle trou­ble getting his films re­leased com­mer­cially in cin­e­mas. Two ear­lier films fea­tured In­san as a grav­ity-de­fy­ing su­per­hero fight­ing drug ad­dic­tion and gen­der is­sues. In his third film, re­leased last week and ti­tled “MSG - The War­rior Lion Heart,” In­san plays a se­cret agent armed with a twirled mous­tache and an as­sort­ment of swords to fight the aliens and UFOs. “In my first two films, I ap­peared as a guru. In this film, I am play­ing a char­ac­ter,” he said.

“I play a war­rior who is also In­dia’s top se­cret agent. If you see his back­ground, he is a war­rior who fights with aliens to save the honor of our moth­ers and sis­ters, and the honor of our Mother Earth.” In­san main­tains com­plete con­trol over his film pro­duc­tions. In the lat­est, he is cred­ited in 30 cat­e­gories of the film, in­clud­ing dia­logue writer, chore­og­ra­pher, props, stunts, film editor and makeup artist.

He dis­missed de­trac­tors who say his out­landish cos­tumes and self-glo­ri­fy­ing an­tics on screen run counter to his spir­i­tual mis­sion. “I have re­searched the scrip­tures, the re­li­gious texts - there is no dress code given for holy men,” In­san said. “Nowhere does it say that the saints have to wear any­thing spe­cific. If your thoughts are pure, you can be one with God even in a trouser and shirt.”

In­dian spir­i­tual guru, who calls him­self Saint Dr Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji In­san, ar­rives for a press con­fer­ence ahead of the re­lease of his new film ‘MSG, The War­rior Lion Heart,’ in New Delhi, In­dia. — AP photos

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