The MSG The Messenger Part 1: A Controversial Film with a Cult Following
The MSG The Messenger Part 1 is a 2015 Indian film that features Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the leader of the religious sect Dera Sacha Sauda, as the protagonist. The film is a mix of action, comedy, drama and spirituality, and portrays Singh as a messenger of God who fights against social evils such as drug abuse, prostitution and corruption.
The film was met with harsh criticism and protests from various groups who accused it of hurting religious sentiments, promoting superstition and glorifying Singh. The film was banned in several states and faced legal challenges from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and the Sikh community. However, the film also received support from Singh's followers, who claimed that it was a positive and inspirational message for the youth.
The film was released in Hindi, English, Tamil and Telugu languages, and later dubbed in other regional languages as well. The film was also released in dual audio format, with Hindi and English audio tracks. The film was available for download in various resolutions, including 720p HD quality. The film was a commercial success, grossing over Rs. 100 crore at the box office.
The MSG The Messenger Part 1 is the first installment of a planned trilogy, followed by MSG-2 The Messenger (2015) and MSG The Warrior Lion Heart (2016). The film has developed a cult following among Singh's devotees and fans of so-bad-it's-good cinema.
Reviews and Controversies
The MSG The Messenger Part 1 received largely negative reviews from critics, who accused it of being a propaganda film promoting Singh's teachings, while also severely criticising its quality. The film was rated 1/5 by The Times of India, 0.5/5 by Hindustan Times, and 0/5 by Rediff.com.    The film was also panned by international critics, such as The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter.  
The film was also controversial for being allegedly insulting towards Sikhs, who objected to Singh's portrayal as a godman and his use of religious symbols and attire. The film was banned in several states, including Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir, following protests and petitions from Sikh groups.   The film also faced legal challenges from the CBFC and the Sikh community, who sought to stop its release on grounds of hurting religious sentiments and violating the Cinematograph Act.  
However, the film also received support from Singh's followers, who claimed that it was a positive and inspirational message for the youth. The film was praised by some celebrities, such as Rakhi Sawant, Subhash Ghai and Ram Gopal Varma.    The film also attracted a large number of viewers, especially in Singh's stronghold of Sirsa, where it was screened in multiple theatres with full occupancy.  
Sequel and Franchise
The MSG The Messenger Part 1 was followed by a direct sequel, MSG-2 The Messenger, released later in the same year. The sequel featured Singh reprising his role as Guruji, a spiritual leader on a quest to save an Adivasi tribe from their primitive and violent lifestyle. The sequel was also co-directed, co-written and co-produced by Singh, who also composed the music and performed the stunts. The sequel also starred Arpit Ranka, Honeypreet Insan, CharanPreet and Shan-E-Meet.  
The sequel was released worldwide on September 18, 2015, followed by the Tamil and Telugu versions on October 1. However, the sequel also faced controversy and bans for its allegedly insulting portrayal of Adivasis, who were shown as cannibals, rapists and murderers. The film was banned in several states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, following protests and petitions from Adivasi groups and activists.   
The box office gross of the sequel is also disputed, with a large difference between the numbers from box office estimates and the much higher numbers given by the film's producers. According to Box Office India, the sequel grossed about â8.75 crore (US$1.1 million) in its first week.  However, according to the producers, the sequel grossed over â100 crore (US$13 million) in its first week.  The critical reception of the sequel was similar to its predecessor, with critics considering it propaganda and a very bad film overall.   
The MSG franchise continued with two more films, MSG: The Warrior Lion Heart and Hind Ka Napak Ko Jawab: MSG Lion Heart 2, both featuring new and unrelated story and characters. Honeypreet Insan, Singh's daughter who co-starred in MSG-2, directed and starred in both films alongside her father. The films were released in 2016 and 2017 respectively.   061ffe29dd