The Making of a Godman

Media Watch

The first part of a film on Osho promises to be a realistic depiction of the controversial guru’s formative years, writes Sankhayan Ghosh in The Hindu, India on December 23, 2015.

Logo The Hindu

Still 1
Still 2

Stills from Rebellious Flower. – Photos: Special arrangement

A movie on a spiritual guru, funded by his own followers, invokes recent memories of the shockingly awful but rollickingly funny (unintentionally) MSG: Messenger of God, made on (and by) the self-styled godman, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. But when Krishan Hooda got the offer to make a film on the life of Osho Rajneesh, the first thing he wanted to clarify is that he didn’t want to glorify the spiritual guru to the extent that it feels illogical.

“I said I can’t put a halo around him to show that he has achieved nirvana,” he remembers telling Jagdish Bharti, producer and writer of the film and a long-time Osho follower. Bharti apparently wanted exactly that too.

“He told me not to treat it as a film, not an Osho film,” Hooda recollects. The result, the debutante director promises, is a realistic portrayal of the early life of Osho Rajneesh. There are no miracles, only quiet epiphanies.

“When one receives gyaan, it doesn’t necessarily happen in a dramatic way. It is simple and real. Many enlightened masters have said that they didn’t realise it instantly but gradually.”

The film, Rebellious Flower, will release in theatres across major cities in India on January 15, close to Osho’s 26th death anniversary (he died on January 19).

The film follows Osho’s life between 1940-52 when he was better known as Chandra Mohan Jain and then lived with his parents in Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh.

Existential questions

It explores how his grandfather’s death had a profound impact on Osho. He then became a seeker to the answers to life’s big existential questions, until he “attained enlightenment” at the age of 21. To maintain authenticity, the film has been shot in real locations in Gadarwara.

Prince Shah and Shashank Singh play Osho at different ages.

The film is a Zenin Multimedia Production, a foundation that comprises Osho’s followers.

Interview with family members

Besides information from Bharti, the film’s screenwriter, Hooda also interviewed Osho’s relatives, family members and villagers.

But according to the filmmaker, he didn’t take anything on face value and didn’t include anything in the film till it reached its logical conclusion.

Rebellious Flower doesn’t have the scope for controversies that plagued the latter half of Osho’s life, such as the conflicts with locals surrounding the city of Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, in the USA. The next instalment, that is also set to be directed by Hooda, will delve into the controversial territory.

But did Hooda, in the process of the film, transform into a follower of Osho?

“No, but I like a few things about him: he could bring in humour in any scenario, he was intelligent and he was fearless, he didn’t care what people thought. These are things we can all learn from,” says the director whose past work includes a short film, Shuruat Ka Interval, an anthology film that released in 2014.

What drew Hooda to the subject was also the fact that Osho wasn’t the typical saint.

“He had a girlfriend at the age of 15, he spoke about sex, Buddha and Jesus. He said whatever he wanted to. Like most spiritual gurus, he didn’t encourage his followers to denounce the world. He believed that a person living in society can simultaneously be saintly, enlightened and meditative. He had 91 Rolls Royce cars and a collection of diamond watches.”

The film will release in theatres across India on January 15, close to Osho’s 26th death anniversary.

Comments are closed.