There's no point in mincing words now. Everybody knows it but they are just not saying it.
It is the brainless Bollywood media which created a Frankenstein called Messenger of God out of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. This so-called baba or godman is in the eye of a storm after his followers created mayhem in the Indian state of Haryana over the weekend, after he was convicted of sexual assault of two of his female followers.
Thus far, most followers of Bollywood knew of him as a spiritual guru with millions of followers who also loved acting. He produced and acted in a film called Messenger of God and a song Love Charger went viral for its sheer absurdity. Baba had been a figure of memes but it’s only now that horrendous stories are emerging of his criminality.
Bollywood or rather, Bollywood media played a huge role in propping up Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh as some sort of respectable figure. They invited him for interviews, on TV shows, gave him awards, reviewed his films and even made feature stories on him. ‘MSG' (taken from Messenger Of God, his first film) as Gurmeet Singh was popularly known in Bollywood media circles -- kept every large media company on his payroll who, in turn, were ever hungry for his advertisements and paid media content.
Gurmeet Singh or MSG was a particularly generous media spender and the sales team of the organisations loved him for that. They eagerly awaited his releases because he would invariably buy airtime or full-page advertisements. Before demonetisation, according to a lot of media salespersons, MSG would prefer to pay in cash. Post demonetisation, his media spend was greatly limited but his films continued to get released, unabated.
However that is not the point. MSG wanted to spend and the media houses were more than willing to accept the orders. There is no clash of ethics over here because there was nothing wrong with the ads except for the fact that it was an assault on human senses. But, it was the so called journalists and PR middlemen who made this man into a humongous celebrity that he became in a matter of two years. MSG was always known as a religious leader of a particular North Indian sect but his decision to foray into Bollywood gave him international fame and helped him expand his empire. It won't be wrong to say that the rapid expansion of his business empire and properties was a direct result of his Bollywood foray as a hero.
Just visit the website of any mainstream media house, you will find promotional articles of MSG that were done by 'prominent' journalists. These articles -- waxing eloquent of MSG -- was supposed to be film journalism. Some of the most reputed film journalists -- who boast of ethics and morality -- have engaged with MSG to give him free media space.
It won't be proper to pin-point any particular mainstream media house because everybody is guilty of bowing down to PR pressure. It must be noted that some of the mainstream English media houses did 'hilarious' interviews with MSG because a 'normal' interview would have looked utterly stupid on their websites. But, still they went ahead and featured him on their print pages, TV slots and home pages.
If the reporters are guilty, then Entertainment Editors are sinners. It is them who allowed this to happen, year after year. Why? Just because a PR called them or somebody influential applied pressure on them to do it. In most cases, they were too eager to wilt under pressure and went actively looking for an opportunity to meet this MSG and take part in his film festival. NOT ONE senior reporter or editor asked MSG about his murder case, rape case or the shocking charge of inappropriate castration of some his followers! There were some journals that were religiously publishing the truth about MSG but it disappeared in the tsunami of news about his forthcoming films.
MSG and his followers were also one of the first to reach any disaster site and publish photos of their relief work which also received wide 'critical acclaim' from news editors and journalists alike. Even though some media houses pointed out that MSG was using disaster sites as photo opportunities, nobody seemed to bother because for some strange reason, any positive news about MSG received too many hits on the website and migrated to the "Trending Today" columns within half a day.
The lowest point in Bollywood's worship of MSG came when he was given a film award for his outstanding contribution to cinema despite protests from several prominent people and a huge uproar on social media against it. MSG also proudly posted a video clip of the same award show on his Twitter account. Here it is...
MSG was a religious leader alright, but it was the film journalists covering Bollywood who made a celebrity out of him for best reasons known to them and us. What are those journalists doing now? Well, most of them are now busy submitting the online links of their articles on MSG to their editors and web teams. Some Entertainment Editors are busy scanning their organisation's website to trace all the articles written on MSG and compile all links together.
Just to be doubly sure that those Pulitzer prize worthy journalism about MSG are deleted from their archives.