The reminiscence of the Beatles’ relationship with India is revived on this partaking documentary, and if there isn’t a lot actually new right here, it’s nonetheless salutary to be reminded of how these 4 younger males – and it’s wonderful to do not forget that they have been solely of their 20s, as Craig Brown’s book One Two Three Four factors out – used their colossal affect, better than any politician or film star or spiritual chief, to direct the world’s consideration to India, a rustic which till then had been opaque for a lot of within the west.
The movie amusingly notes that, earlier than this, India had been simply as crazed with western Beatlemania as anybody else, with a well-liked Beatles-style band known as the Savages, and Shammi Kapoor bopping round carrying a Beatles wig in Bhappi Sonie’s 1965 movie Janwar.
George Harrison visited India in 1966 to take sitar classes from Ravi Shankar, and his humility and artistic curiosity remains to be transferring. In 1968, all 4 Beatles (Ringo Starr carrying a second suitcase filled with tins of Heinz baked beans) went to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh within the foothills of the Himalayas, the place they earnestly pursued transcendental meditation, skilled a summer time of non secular love and wound up composing many of the songs on the White Album.
The movie rehearses the idea that with their supervisor Brian Epstein’s demise in 1967, the Beatles wanted a brand new guru, and duly fell for the Maharishi, whom they later discovered to be manipulative and greedy. But maybe they reached this conclusion because of being manipulated by one other guru, the supposed tech visionary Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas, who grew to become a malign affect on the chaotic enterprise affairs of the Beatles’ Apple Corps.
Possibly the Indian affect on the Beatles’ music didn’t final, however India’s personal status, its gentle energy within the west, was immeasurably enhanced.
The Beatles and India is launched on 4 October on digital platforms.