Wild Wild Country
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|Wild Wild Country|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||6 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||64–71 minutes|
|Original release||March 16, 2018|
Wild Wild Country is a Netflix documentary series about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in the Rajneeshpuram community located in Wasco County, Oregon, US. It was released on Netflix on March 16, 2018, after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. The title of the series is drawn from the Bill Callahan song "Drover", which features prominently in the final episode.
|No.||Title||Original release date|
|1||"Part 1"||March 16, 2018|
|The movement begins in India in 1968. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) is filling stadiums with 20-30K people. Osho speaks about capitalism, spirituality and sexuality and his followers practice a dynamic form of meditation. Westerners begin moving to India to join the movement so the group decides they want to build a commune but find political resistance in India. A westerner shares with them the Constitution of the United States and the group decides the United States is the best place for them to practice their way of life. They buy 80,000 acres in Antelope, Oregon (a very small town of about 50 people) and begin bringing in mobile homes and building materials to build their agricultural commune. Sheela, who met Osho when she was 16 years old, becomes the administrator managing the group's millions of dollars. The small community of locals living in Antelope is curious about their new neighbor, Osho who comes into town in a Rolls Royce and his followers, which number in the thousands. The group immediately falls on the radar of the FBI.|
|2||"Part 2"||March 16, 2018|
|Ma Anand Sheela and several other Rajneesh sannyasins recount their experiences of moving to the ranch and the hostility from the residents of Antelope. The commune decides to become self-governing which would allow them to issue their own building permits, have separate law enforcement and be completely independent. With the help of architects, engineers, city planners and commune residents, Rajneeshees construct a town called Rajneeshpuram, with its own power station, plumbing, roads, shopping centre, houses, hall, airport and a large meditation hall. Locals describe their experiences of sannyasins and their mistrust towards Bhagwan. The American press begins to affiliate Rajneeshpuram with the Jonestown Massacre and paints Bhagwan as an antichrist and threat to Christianity. The documentary film Ashram in Poona: Bhagwans Experiment sparks concerns with Antelope locals. The group 1000 Friends of Oregon initiates a court case to have the buildings of Rajneeshpuram destroyed. Sheela begins buying up available properties in Antelope, a town of only 40 people, and the locals decide to disincorporate to prevent the Rajneeshees from taking political control. After a bombing of a Rajneesh-owned hotel in Portland, Oregon in 1983, security increases dramatically at the ranch.|
|3||"Part 3"||March 16, 2018|
|4||"Part 4"||March 16, 2018|
|5||"Part 5"||March 16, 2018|
|6||"Part 6"||March 16, 2018|
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 46 critical responses and judged 98% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 8.08 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Wild Wild Country succeeds as an intriguing examination of a forgotten piece of American history that must be seen to be believed."
Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com wrote "by handling this story so intelligently and by opening its heart to a very complicated idea of good and evil, Wild Wild Country has a profound, mesmerizing power itself".
Some have criticized Wild Wild Country for leaving out critical information regarding the activities of the Rajneesh followers, particularly regarding sexual assault of women and children as well as possible intent to unleash an AIDS epidemic. Journalist Win McCormack wrote that "Where the filmmakers have fallen down on the job is in the area of interpretation. They have not addressed squarely some of the more important issues raised by their film, and have left others out completely. The latter category includes a few of the cult’s most odious practices, as well as the true extent of the threat it posed not only to its immediate neighbors in Oregon, but to the entire world." Jane Stork, one of the main sources for this documentary, reported in her autobiography Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom (2009) that her own children were sexually abused during her time in Rajneeshpuram. This was not included in the documentary.
Osho International Foundation's reaction
The Osho International Foundation, which co-administers Rajneesh's estate and operates the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India, responded to the docuseries on their website Osho Times, saying that "Unfortunately, the docuseries fails to explore key aspects and so does not give a clear account of the real story behind the story", and arguing that the events in Oregon were part of "a U.S. government conspiracy, from the White House on down, aimed at thwarting Osho’s vision of a community based on conscious living."
In January 2019, Priyanka Chopra announced that she will be starring as Ma Anand Sheela in an Amazon Studios feature film adaptation of Wild Wild Country. Titled Sheela, the drama film was written by Nick Yarborough and will be directed by Barry Levinson.
In November 2019, Netflix announced a documentary titled Searching for Sheela, which follows Osho's former top aide on her first journey home to India in more than 30 years. The documentary aims to give insight into Sheela's involvement and later prosecution for the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack in Oregon. The documentary premiered on Netflix on April 22, 2021.
- Debnath, Neela (March 8, 2018). "Wild Wild Country on Netflix: When is Wild Wild Country released on Netflix?". Daily Express. Express Newspapers. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- HT Correspondent (March 1, 2018). "Wild Wild Country trailer: New Netflix series will take you behind the controversial history of Osho". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Turnquist, Kristi (March 14, 2018). "Netflix documentary on Rajneeshees in Oregon revisits an amazing, enraging true story". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- "Wild Wild Country". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Finberg, Daniel. "'Wild Wild Country': TV Review | Sundance 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- Schager, Nick (March 12, 2018). "Inside the Crazy Sex Cult That Invaded Oregon". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- "Wild Wild Country: Season 1 - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
- Allen, Nick (16 March 2018). "Netflix Docuseries Wild Wild Country is Fascinating Entertainment". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
- Littleton, Cynthia (2018-09-09). "Anthony Bourdain, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Saturday Night Live' Win Big on Night 2 of Creative Arts Emmy Awards". Variety. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
- McCormack, Win (2018-03-27). "Outside the Limits of the Human Imagination". The New Republic.
- Sussex, Lucy (April 19, 2009). "Breaking The Spell : My Life As A Rajneeshee, And The Long Journey Back To Freedom - BOOKS". The Sunday Age. Fairfax Media. p. 21 (Section: M).
- "Wild Wild Country – The story behind the Story of Rajneeshpuram". oshotimes.com. Osho International Foundation. March 31, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- Bowenbank, Starr (2019-01-30). "'Wild Wild Country' Is Being Made Into a Movie and Priyanka Chopra Is Playing Ma Anand Sheela". ELLE. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
- Galuppo, Mia (2020-02-20). "Priyanka Chopra Jonas to Play Ma Anand Sheela in Amazon Movie | Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
- Oregonian/OregonLive, Kristi Turnquist | The (2019-11-01). "Ma Anand Sheela, of Oregon's Rajneesh saga and 'Wild Wild Country' fame, will star in new Netflix documentary". oregonlive. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
- Dry, Jude (2021-04-13). "'Searching for Sheela' Trailer: Netflix Doc on 'Wild Wild Country' Guru's Right Hand Woman". IndieWire. Retrieved 2021-04-14.