I wrote this post originally as a guest post for a humour blog run by my friend.
There’s something about boogers. You know, those little nasty bits that remain stuck, on the sides of beds, below office tables, deposited in that little gap between your school desk’s drawer and tabletop. Many a childhood’s left indelible marks of nasal waste, marking the passage of time on places you shudder to think about now. There’s a fair chance many among us heard the adjective ‘gross’ for the first time from a member of the opposite sex, when we were busy mining for gold. It stopped us from examining the booger. And it ensured we never found the hilarity of coaxing it out, making it into a little projectile, and throwing it at the bald pate of an angry white man, and laughing hysterically. Until now.
The joke appears twice in MSG- Messenger of God. And like everything else in the film, it results in the exact opposite of what it’s meant to do.
Before you read any further, a disclaimer is necessary: To ensure I survived the entirety of this journey, I had a session with an Old Monk, and partook Kool Aid a few times. As a result, I was already feeling the buzz, quite literally, as I entered the a local cinema hall in Gurgaon late evening. The result is a review which is more like a stream of consciousness from a night of debauchery you barely remember. If you can get past the structure of the paragraphs that follow, you can truly get a feel for the cinematic gem I so describe.
Here are the things I counted:
- Seventeen Hero ki Entry scenes- cue rousing music, slow motion car door opening, and a man in a costume from the performers in Mera Naam Joker.
- One Angry Herschelle Gibbs: Like really angry. So angry that he could switch at will from being a highly renowned marksman to quivering mass of steroids.
- Three lost girls: They just keep wandering in and out every scene with the titular character, all of them routinely smiling so beatifically you hope they were sufficiently alerted to their presence in the film.
- One seemingly gay man: He played the booger jokes on Angry Herschelle Gibbs. Apart from it, he just played the token gay man by virtue of pantomime mannerisms. This man put Shakti Kapoor’s turn as Chutiya (read the hindi word with the chhoti oo ki matra, and the tamatar wala ta) in the legendary potboiler Gunda.
- The world’s hairiest baby: If there was ever a horror movie to be made where a child was born nearly six foot tall, with body hair Anil Kapoor would blush about, the casting is now a snap.
By the end of the movie, we were not quite aware if we were awake, asleep, hallucinating or in a deep state of meditation. Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Insaan, is a social worker slash quasi religious guru with exactly Five crore followers. How do I know that the figure’s exact? Because they mention it seven times during the course of the movie. And seven because they are subtle.
I understand describing the titular character of this film by his physical characteristics is akin to how we objectify women in our films, but Guruji comes across as such a harmless man, he defies any other categorization. His facade is of a cute cow, gently chewing dialogue, burping action scenes, and maintaining an aura of calm like no other. Except, he’s dressed in crochet t-shirts, orange capris and boots from WWF Wrestle Mania 1994. If he was even remotely funny, he’d be a great stand in for Po from Kung Fu Panda.
The film goes on for 197 minutes, and after the first 30, you are basically in the zone- you’re basically consuming a pack of Aam Papad. So bad but so good. You’ll be sick in the morning, your insides will groan and remind you of your foolishness the night before. But, it’s Aam Papad. If you don’t finish it now, you can’t ever have it again.
There are a lot of songs in the film. All of them sung by Baba. He’s going to let all of his five crore followers know they can sing whenever they want, wherever they think they can. The followers of this man will never be bathroom singers. They will soon maraud the ears of their friends and family at Roobaroo nights, an event which will soon take over from Narendra Modi’s election rallies as the most epic thing ‘Indians who don’t understand what they are doing’ attend.
The other characters in this film were cut out from cardboard, then given a little Alprax, some Vicodin and a wad of money. The latter I hope was involved, for their sake. Or the promise of Modi becoming their Prime Minister and saviour in chief. Nothing else could have gotten people to bend over backwards so gleefully. We’ve all seen 90's cinema, and the things people got up to, but this film makes that great decade irrelevant. It defines them over, and serves them on a platter made of earnestness, unintended mirth and glee.
By the end, we just gave up laughing. We gave up smiling. We gave up looking at each other and guffawing. We gave up everything we had, and wanted to become followers of the man.
In conclusion (sorry I’ve been told this is how you must end all assignments, and this is an assignment by Sarthak Ahuja CA, ICWA and other Accounting degrees), this is all I have to say:
Years ago I learnt that the death is the harshest possible punishment given to a criminal. Below it, the next rung, is solitary confinement- a person loses his mind, hallucinates and stops being a person: he loses track of time, self-awareness and self-worth. Since that day, I've feared solitary confinement more than death itself. Now, you can make me fearful of a third reality- watching MSG 2.
You can find me on twitter at @ironymeter. If you did see the movie, I offer my heartfelt condolences, and an offer to meet me, and share some Old Monk and Aam Papad. Offer valid till the end of February. Terms and conditions apply.