Wild Wild Country Review: It Is More About American Moral Policing Than Rajneesh

Wild Wild Country

6-Part Documentary On Acharya Rajneesh Directed  by Chapman Way,McLain Way

Rating: **

It is easy to get carried away  by the sheer  sweep of arguments against Osho, a.k.a Acharya  Rajneesh,  and his religion commune. But this  cleverly assembled collage of  conversations  with  people whose lives collided with the  Godman, only reads  like an exposition on what trouble  a cult-guru can create for god-fearing Catholics in a Western(read: progressive) society.

 To that extend this  6-hour exploration of Osho’s mesmeric magnetism only has the questions, sometimes with exclamatory  think-alouds from foreigners  who  are  now in the autumn of their  lives and can look back with some amusement and  much irony at their spiritual enthrallment with some detachment and  comprehension.

 There was none in  Osho’s kingdom as enthralled as  Ma Sheela. Wild Wild Country is actually Ma Sheela’s story as  told to us in her own voice. There  is much drama and some pathos in  her confessions  of  an absolute devotion to a  man whom she met for the first time when she was barely  out of her teens. This bizarre fatal attraction is  attempted  to be a put in a range of  coherence through the first-person  monologue of  the woman who was so infatuated  by  ‘Bhagwan’  she  couldn’t differentiate between the halo and the hype.

Trapped  between the deification and  the damning  , Rajneesh is  hardly  the point of this lengthy and admittedly engrossing documentary. The exercize  is  meant to shed light on the circumstances, often  bizarre which  makes a collective surge of human beings so enmoured of  a personality that they forget their place in life and  all their commitments.

Rajneesh’s journey from Pune  to Oregon  is  never  mapped with cogency in this documentary.We have to believe what we are  told about him and his sexual interpretation  of spiritualism, as  manifested  in his teachings that his devotees adopted unquestioningly. For us who never knew Rajneesh the tenets are indigestible. This documentary does nothing to bring us closer to Rajneesh’s teachings.

 More than anything else  Wild Wild Country is  the story of how Osho’s  presence changed the entire topography tempo and economics  of  a small sleepy town named Oregon in the US.

The documentary cleverly suggests that the arrival of Rajneesh and thousands  of his devotees  in  Oregon was like  a circus coming to town. The local townspeople are at first curious, then suspicious and  finally hostile to the strangers who have taken over their town.

Who was Rajneesh? What was the message of spiritual awakening that he taught his disciples? And  why did so  many bhakts simply accept what he offered?

Wild Wild County , for all its unspoken claims of  internal knowledge and some rare footage  of Rajneesh’s disciples in  Pune and Oregon, offers  no answers. In that sense  it remains as inconclusive as  the teachings  of the godman whom it tries to decode  through conversations with people who fell for him.

This documentary, alas, is not half as magnetic as  its subject.

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