So I’ve been meaning to write this post since Sunday, two days ago. But mostly I’ve been struggling with the decision to write it at all. You see, this post was supposed to be about my amusing and somewhat unique experience of watching MSG2, the second installment from self-proclaimed saint and human GurmeetRamRahimSinghJi Insan’s pool of film making talent. And now, after watching and enduring the movie, and having survived to tell the tale, every time I thought about writing it down, words failed me. I guess I was pressurizing myself too much into writing what I thought would be a movie review. But I now realize that there is no reason for me to bind my thoughts so, and therefore I shall only write it like the cerebral experience it was.
To be fair, I won’t deny how much I anticipated the release of this movie. Over the last few months, or rather, since being part of a crazily themed birthday party, where the birthday boy played the said ‘human’ (read insan), the movie and the god man have become a bit of an obsession. Emulating these god men / women was a real eye opener on how much fun it really was, having people gawk at you in awe (or horror) and basically dress up, dance and be showered with flowers. We took ourselves quite seriously and much preparation went into getting ourselves in character – leading to a rediscovery of MSG1 and its exquisitely composed music. While I won’t go into the details of the original soundtrack here, an honorary mention of the song ‘Daru ko Goli Maro’ (Shoot down the alcohol) is due. Quite possibly the most ‘singular’ song I have ever heard, I believe no one and no one but the ‘human’ in question can sing it in the same tune and tone. Do take a listen some time, and make sure you also have the lyrics handy for a fuller and more complete experience.
So anyway, coming back to MSG2, we were booked in advance with great last row seats in one of the first PVRs of south Delhi. We got there, bought our cola, pop and sandwiches and found our seats in the ever filling auditorium, all set for the show to begin. And what a show it was. From the ever increasing crowd that kept pouring in; to a stylish credits opening with a familiar sounding, though unidentifiable, catchy EDM* track; to the vaguest movie plot ever; to flashing beads and fabric and rhine stone studded head gear; to hair, lots of hair; to color changing tribals that needed converting from ‘animalness’ to ‘humanness’ if you please; to bad dialogue and worse character names; and to some very very second-rate VFX – I came away with a buzzing head and a complex physical, intellectual and psychological blend of experiences. I don’t exaggerate, I actually got goosebumps a few times.
The purpose of the film, as is evident from the previous one, was to – create, disseminate and propagate. And a seemingly effective means of propaganda it was, if one is go by the rapt attention with which the audience watched, cheered and clapped. Many times through the movie I would look around to get feedback on how people were responding, and was amazed to see how they watched with bated breath as the ‘human of humans’ took on tribes and army factions single-handedly. Always emerging undefeated and unscathed from these over the top long drawn conflicts,with not a single hair from his beard or updo going astray – he clearly has set the bar high for even Rajnikant.
The means to achieve this propagandized objective was a bizarre movie plot, completely lacking logic or common sense – that centered around bettering the world by converting tribals into humans – because obviously as meat eating, scantily clad, mahua drinking, dark skinned, muddy looking people, they fell very short of qualifying the civilized human index. So the ‘human of humans’, as a favour to all mankind, took it upon himself to humanize the tribals with love and affection, a few life lessons here and there, and some bizarre acts of bravery that included saving a child from a digitized elephant. But wait! The transformation was not yet complete. As the thankful tribals start dancing in his honour, he stops them mid-song and says that a proper human is one who is dressed modestly. He then orders his minions to catch the tribals and make them wear ‘tailored human’ clothes to be truly called humans. And so in an extremely weird and patronizing sequence of events, the tribals are chased, caught, nail clipped and hosed down to then emerge not only in colourful clothes but also with skin tones five times fairer than their orignal one – all while comic music plays in the background. And then ofcourse the song resumes and as the new ‘humans’ dance their clothes eveolve as well – from ghargra choli and dhoti to salwar kameez and kurta pajama to a long maxi dress and pant-shirts.
I shuddered at this particular sequence in the film for the deprecating and degrading manner in which such a perception about tribal communities was portrayed – as unclean, unaaceptable and inferior beings. And seeing that literally 98% of the audience in that theater was poorly educated or under-sensitized and unaware about tribals and their lives, I feel they all went back home with a completely screwed up image of them. So good riddance that the film was banned in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh and while the censor board did pass the film, it really shouldn’t have, for projecting the indigenous, legitimate and very equal tribal citizens of India in such a demeaning and insensitive manner.
But as all this takes place we’re only halfway through the movie. What next one wonders? He’s sorted the tribals, what now? Ofcourse there is a bigger, badder, meaner tribal head to deal with, whose love story is yet another masterpiece. This guy is called ‘Ajgar’ – The Python, named so becasue he played with pythons as a kid. His wife ‘Chabuki’ also gets her name from a childhood habit – bullying other kids with her hunter (chabuk) and growing up to lash men who couldn’t live up to her expectations of a mate. When Ajgar confronts her at a tribal fair, she challenges him to a mahua drinking match and when he beats her at drinking a whole potful, she declares that she has found the one. And of course, we cut to a dream song sequence where this newly in love couple is dressed in very western clothes, dancing to the undecipherable singing of the all rounder ‘human of humans’ and basically all logic has taken a back seat by now.
Anyway, the rest is not of much consequence. This tribal too is brought into line, set on the right path – and while that is in process, the ‘human of humans’ also takes the opportunity to further establish his credibility by inserting information about his lineage – going as far as even depicting Maharaja Ranjit Singh as a spitting image of himself, to Guru Gobind’s armies and some such. Basically blue blood, warrior blood, and the works. There is more still, a prolonged and repetitive action scene on a man made mud hill, but it ends as expected with the final enemy, the local politician, getting kicked in the butt and all is well for humans again.
To conclude, MSG2 – supposedly a big improvement on MSG1, is essentially a B grade Hindi film at its core. And had it not been written, produced, acted, directed, sung and composed by the one man army that the ‘humanly saint’ is, it would have never seen a theater release or garnered the cult status for the likes of me. So I guess there is either a very smart marketing case study or a purely monetary one in there that should be worth exploring, in addition to being a very interesting opportunity for psychoanalysis.
I cannot sign off without acknowledging that the movie and the associated overarching personality have been a huge source of ‘happiness’ and entertainment for me and my brethren – and if you allow your mind that freedom too, then it is sure to bring you the joy it did me 😉 Try.
*electronic dance music