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Osho Centres disown Guru of Sex Movie

Sunanda Mehta

Pune, August 10:  EVEN as news of Hollywood actor Ben Kingsley (of Gandhi fame) being approached to play the role of Osho in Guru of Sex does the rounds, the two centres where the Osho legacy survives and thrives the most are not impressed by the effort. Be it the Osho Commune International, Pune or the Delhi-based Osho World Foundation — both flourishing centres of the controversial guru’s legacy — the reaction to the film announced by Chandigarh-based Compact Disc India Ltd (CDI) is one of aloofness, even disdain.

The reason — the title of the film. “With such a title, it’s no mystery what kind of film it’s going to be. We have not been approached by the filmmakers for supplying information, and even if they were to do so, no Osho centre would be willing to co-operate or be a part of such a venture,” says Swami Chaitanya Keerti, editor of Osho World magazine, published from New Delhi. Ma Sadhana, one of the prominent figures of the commune in Pune, echoes the sentiment. “People have been wanting to make films on Osho for years because they know he sells. But nothing concrete has happened till now. We haven’t been contacted for any information, photographs or research for this film either,” says Sadhana.

 While agreeing that the centres are miffed with the project, CDI chairman Suresh Kumar however refutes the claim that they had not been approached by the company to gather details on the guru. “I contacted both centres personally, but they refused to offer any assistance,” says Kumar. The reason, he feels, is the obvious “bold” theme of the movie. “We have called him a ‘guru of sex’ and obviously this is not how they would want him portrayed. In fact, the first thing they asked us to do in Pune was to change the title if we wanted help. But there is no question of doing that,” says Kumar.

However, the company will tread carefully to avoid any controversies or legal tangles. While the main character will be fashioned on Osho, the name he sports will be ‘Rajneesh’. “This is because unlike Osho, Rajneesh is a generic name and could belong to anyone. Of course, the story begins from this man’s journey from Jabalpur and goes on till the time he leaves India for the United States of America. Besides, our hero will look like him, so the references are all there,” says Kumar, who also intends putting the disclaimer at the beginning that says: “any resemblance to person, dead or alive, is incidental.”

But are the Osho centres thinking of any action nonetheless? “If he uses pictures of Osho we can take action, but if someone just spins a story without any proof, what can we do?” says Sadhana.

The $ 16 million movie, to be officially announced at the end of the month, has London-based Farrokh Dhondy, who originally belongs to Pune, writing the script. Most of the shooting will be done in Vietnam and Cambodia, since the locales resemble the new Osho meditation resort in Pune, according to CDI.

Finally, if the film title has created a furore, it is nothing compared to what the climax will evoke, says Kumar. “The climax makes the startling revelation that the guru of sex in fact never enjoyed sex — this is mentioned in one of his own books,” says Kumar. In which case, the end may just spawn the beginning of a fresh crop of controversies — something Osho it seems is never away from, even after death.