Filmed across India at all the sites of the Beatles’ visits — Mumbai, New Delhi, Rishikesh and Dehradun — and featuring an array of unseen photographs, footage and interviews uncovered in India during research on the project — including unseen footage from a film shot at the ashram but never released and an interview with George Harrison recorded with All India Radio unheard since it was recorded in 1966 — The Beatles In India tells how George, John, Paul and Ringo took a break from their lives as the biggest band in the world to travel to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual enlightenment and ended up unleashing an entirely new level of creativity from the band.
This movie seeks to answer two questions: How did India influence perhaps the most important musicians of the 20th century? And how did The Beatles change India?
Co-director Ajoy Bose also wrote the book Across the Universe to mark the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ historic trip to Rishikesh. At the time they visited, he was just a young boy fighting with his father over his mop top hair. Joining with cultural researcher and co-director Pete Compton, Bose seeks to answer those questions and show why this moment united and transformed two very different worlds.
The band’s three-year immersion in Indian culture and studying Transcendental Meditation under teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is a moment in time that fascinates me. I loved the end of the film, as Indian musicians share just how important The Beatles were to them. The world can be a better place, if we want it, and this film is a great reminder of how it can happen, even if there are some rough patches and strangeness along the way. It does not shy away from the issues of the Maharishi nor the death of Brian Epstein.
If you love music, culture, history and learning, you must experience this.