India is said to be the land of Gods. If these ‘Gods’ aren’t sufficient the countrymen turn even the mortals into ‘Gods’. There have been hundreds of instances when these so-called ‘babas’, ‘gurus’ or ‘saints’ take undue advantage of the faith of the ‘blind’ people and indulge in henious crimes including ‘money laundering’, ‘murders’, ‘rapes’ etc. ‘Wild Wild Country’ is on the same lines but on a grandiose scale.
‘Wild Wild Country’ is not only a documentary about Shri Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho – the ‘sex god’ but it is incredibly much more. It is really a shame for me to not know much about this man of epic proportions, more so its an embarrassment because his headquarters are situated in ‘Pune’, may be its because he ‘mysteriously died’ way before I was born but even today his commune continues to reside in ‘Koregaon Park’.
‘Wild Wild Country’ is a documentation of the largest immiragation fraud case, the largest wire tapping incident in the history of any nation, an attempted murder, drugs,espionage and of-course ‘sex’. The story is packed with emotions of greed, corruption, betrayal, bigotry and jealousy.
Bhagwan lead an ashram in Pune and had fallen in a deep disfavour of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi so he asked his personal secretary Sheela, a teenager then to find him a piece of land where he and his followers could reside. Sheela didn’t disappoint Bhagwan. She bought a 60,000 acre of muddy ranch in Northern Oregon, USA.
She converted the ranch into a city that no one could ever imagine and named it ‘Rajneeshpuram’. The city of Rajneesh was flocked by his followers from all over the world. They took upon the task to make the city a ‘heaven’ for their God. They had their own police force, restaurants, public transport system, boutiques, dams and even air strips. They had a meditation hall which could accommodate 10,000 people. Mind you it’s the 1980s.
The neighbouring town of Antelope with only 40 residents started fearing the Rajneeshis for the religion they practiced and their liberal actions (sex in the open). The Rajneeshis then started eyeing to gain political power in the Wasco county which the locals totally resisted and this created a ‘world-wide scandal’ which involved drugs, poisoning the city, attempted murder,espionage, blame game and finally deportation.
The exclusive raw footage of the Bhagwan and the others including the interviews of the ones alive today, make you wonder sometimes that is it real? Did this actually take place? The stylish Bhagwan with 90 Rolls Royces and a net worth of 50 million dollars is clearly astonishing. The crowd that emerged upon his death in Pune clearly shows his popularity around the world.
The best part of the documentary is that it doesn’t analyse anything, it gives you both the sides of the story, one from the Rajneeshis and the other from the locals.
The central character to his story is Ma Anand Sheela who is probably the strongest person there is in the documentary. She is fearless and devoted to Bhagwan. She doesn’t hesitate to put up her middle finger on cameras and speak up her mind. Now she is working in Switzerland as a nurse but her deep love for Bhagwan is still clearly visible even after the public shame he brought her.
The 6 part documentary might be lengthy for some but it left me with more questions and I will definitely seek the answers. Where did he come from? How did he set up a commune in such a laid-back town as Pune? How did people join him? How was he so liberal? There are many books of his which I will definitely read to get my answers from or maybe a visit to the commune could get me my answers.
‘Wild Wild Country’ is undoubtedly the one of the finest documentaries ever made and it’s a MUST WATCH.
Directors: Maclain Way and Chaplin Way
Streaming Platform : Netflix