Kul Bhushan reports about the upcoming Hindi movie, ‘Secrets of Love’, with star Ravi Kishan playing the role of Osho and other pending projects.
A mega-star of Bhojpuri (the language of Bihar and UP states in India), Ravi Kishan, plays the role of the enlightened master Osho in a forthcoming Hindi movie titled Secrets of Love. The shooting for this movie was completed last year and it is due for release probably in May. The film is directed by Ritesh S. Kumar and is inspired by some important events of Osho’s life, according to media reports.
A seasoned actor with over 650 films in Bhojpuri, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Hindi, Ravi Kishan is a television personality and politician as the current Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, from Gorakhpur. He predominantly works in Bhojpuri and Hindi cinema with a wider presence in South Indian cinema.
The son of a priest, he grew up with the sound of temple bells and as an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, he told a TV channel.
Playing Osho has been a challenge as he told Bombay Times: “When you are asked to play the character of a cult personality who is not only controversial, but also has a massive following, the responsibility is a lot more. In order to portray the role as accurately as possible, I had to read many of his books and had to do a lot of research. I had my director by my side to help me out, so it was easy, but still, we were careful about everything and had proper research in place.”
Ravi Kishan also revealed that it was his eyes that got him the role. He said, “When I asked Ritesh why did he approach me for the role, he said that my eyes are very similar to Osho’s and he has seen the Osho get-up on my photographs, which is very much like him.” Shooting for the film and playing Osho was a ‘good experience’. He added, “It’s intriguing how one could never interpret his calm mind. Unka shaant chith bilkul akhandit tha.” (His calm mind was total.)
How Ravi Kishan presents Osho’s divinity, serenity and wisdom remains to be seen in the movie. As Osho is so very much alive on the net in hundreds of his videos, Ravi Kishan’s portrayal becomes a humungous challenge. No wonder he shies away from this by saying that it is just another role for him.
Osho has been a favourite subject for many film producers and directors. In 2018, filmmaker Shakun Batra was reported to have embarked on a project based on Osho and his personal secretary, Ma Anand Sheela. It was speculated that super hero Aamir Khan would be playing Osho and Alia Bhat would portray Ma Anand Sheela. But this news petered away.
In 2019, super star Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced during her appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the USA that she would be featuring in a biopic on Ma Anand Sheela. Soon after, Ma Sheela denied giving permission for the movie.
Long-time Osho disciple and a movie director, Italy’s Lakshen Sucameli, has been working on a script titled Osho: Lord of the Full Moon for over seven years. An Osho disciple since 1978, Lakshen has lived in Osho’s communes in India and the US since he first met the mystic. Lakshen has directed two films, Blue Line and Zorba the Buddha, according to a fund-raising website set up for the biopic.
He roped in Kamlesh Pandey, another long-time Osho disciple and also an award-winning Bollywood scriptwriter for this project. Pandey wrote the screenplay for the hit movie Rang de Basanti and Saudagar, among others. Both approached well-known Bollywood producer-director Subhash Ghai for this project as Ghai has been reading Osho for over 30 years and based his superhit film, Taal, on Osho’s vision of rising in love.
“I had always been meaning to make a film on the life and times of Osho but had decided to wait for the right time,” said Ghai. “I have been reading Osho’s writings critically for over 30 years,” he told PTI in an interview at the India Pavilion of the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.
Pandey claims they approached famous Hollywood actor Al Pacino to play Osho but this project fell by the wayside as the Osho commune in Pune denied permission. Now this project has been transformed into a docuseries.
Lakshen said, “Ghai turned down my project because he was scared when OIF put a notice in a Bollywood magazine saying that anyone wanting to make a movie on Osho had to ask their permission. Or because it was the time when the project with Amir Khan was announced and he felt not able ‘to compete’ with that. Or for other reasons, God knows? We are ready to re-start if another producer wants to take the call.
“Meantime, I have put all my energy to make a docuseries in five episodes of one hour each, interviewing people who were close to Osho and covering all his life through their stories. I have completed three episodes of Ten Thousand Shades of Ocean and hope to finish everything by the end of the year… but still looking for funds.”
The only successful Hindi film on Osho has been Rebellious Flower, released in 2016. Directed by Krishan Hooda in his directorial debut, it was written and produced by Osho disciple Jagdish Bharti and had the approval of Pune’s Osho Resort. It presents Osho’s early years until he became enlightened and was well-received by his disciples and admirers. A low-budget film since it was mostly shot in villages and rural outdoors where Osho lived during his early years, the film won Special Mention Jury Award at the 12th Salento International Film Festival, Italy.
After this success, Jagdish Bharti has written the screenplay for a sequel covering Osho’s life from Jabalpur to Mumbai, on to Pune, to the USA and back, until he left his body. This would be a big budget film due to its locales and the number of actors needed.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what ‘secrets of love’ are revealed in the new movie.