MSG:Messenger of God that finally made its way to the screens after much controversy opens with a disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and no claim is made of an individual possessing any miraculous power. The film however, is not an extension of the thought; for every frame is crafted carefully to make the actor, also the co-director, singer, composer and designer among other things, look like the saviour of the universe. He can fly a bike in a film that’s not Dhoom, and treat the sick without medical aids. In fact, unlike actual insaans who rely on the doctor’s word, Sant Ram Rahim Singh Insaan assures him that he’ll wing it, while he asks the doctor to prepare the patient’s discharge papers.
The disclaimer stands out particularly because at the press conference, the guru had maintained that it is a biopic of sorts, minus the frills maybe. No, we’re not referring to those on his clothes, which he has designed himself. With over a hundred costume changes over the three and a half hours film, SRRSI is the only person in the film industry to beat Sonam Kapoor at her game. The wardrobe can best be defined as imbibing the essence of truck art with every outfit marinated in glitter and co-ordinated with matching shoes and headgears.
The film starts with a voiceover giving a grim picture of an alcohol-ridden society. It assures you in the same breath, that whenever an evil power begins to spread its tentacles, there comes a crusader who restores the balance. In no subtle terms, it insinuates that it is indeed the one and only Sant Ram Rahim. In keeping with the times, this particular farishta (angel) who looks like Snoop Dogg and Honey Singh rolled into one, drives in a luxury car as he raps his lines and shakes a leg with an army of tuxedo clad blondes.
What follows is the self-styled and unapologetically flashy guru’s battle against alcoholism, prostitution, filth and poverty. Unfortunately, for the bad guys in the film, they’re taking on a potent mix of Salman Khan and Rajinikanth. Those who make a meek effort fail miserably in the face of action sequences that put Matrix and Mahabharat to shame. Swords turn into rose petals, gates miraculously develop deadly electric wiring and coconuts crack open with the flex of a muscle. And that’s perhaps only a fraction of the tip of the iceberg.
As part of his society makeover, he organises blood donation camps, rehabilitates girls from the hellholes of prostitution and conducts cleanliness drives and most interestingly rubaru nights (a rock concert that serves an antidote to alcohol) while reminding you all the way that he is no God, but only a messenger or fakir. A flamboyant one, but a fakir nonetheless with a fleet of modified cars (designed by him, no points for guessing), flying bikes and an army of followers that will give their right arm to defend his honour. Not to forget, his entry in a hot air balloon that reads “rockstar” as he jumps on to a bike while strumming a guitar and gliding past dolphins in a pool.
Despite the punches and kicks, MSG is far from being an action film and probably needs to be slot into a genre that has no predecessors and hopefully, no followers. The makers of the film, two-thirds of which is SRRSI himself, have made no bones about positioning the man as a messiah. It has a few cringe-worthy attempts at comedy and Gaurav Gera (the only familiar face in the film) has the misfortune of delivering them. The story line follows a linear path that builds up to show the man as the ultimate insaan. The performances are extremely caricaturish and so is the dialogue delivery. What is noteworthy however is the enormous crowd in each frame, the elaborate sets and its gaudy production value.
Not necessarily in a good way, but the film offers lots of chuckles and a healthy dose of laughter if you endorse the view that too much tragedy is comedy. In other words, it’s so bad, it’s good if you’re one to pick the positives and watch a film just for kicks....