Meeting the Beatles in India

This screening took place on Monday, January 25, 2021 at 5:30pmYukon Arts Centre

Canadian filmmaker, Paul Saltzman – who once sought enlightenment at the Maharishi’s ashram- relives his magical mystery tour in this personal documentary. In February 1968, when he was 24, Saltzman was at a crossroads. By his own account, his soul had begun literally talking to him about his inner self and his purpose in life. And the path to that goal ran through India. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, Meeting The Beatles in India sees Saltzman retrace his tracks and retell his stories, through his archival footage, illustrations and the memories of others who were there.

A man with a purpose will accept no obstacles. Lying about being a sound technician, he found his way onto a National Film Board crew that was filming in India. Once there, he made his way north of Delhi to the ashram of the celebrity guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. There, in Rishikesh, he was welcomed – but only in a limited fashion because of the presence on the grounds of some world-famous followers named John, Paul, George and Ringo. Confined to a guest house where he received introductory training in Transcendental Meditation, Saltzman was finally allowed, after eight days, to join the other acolytes.

Meeting The Beatles in India is about Saltzman’s week seeking inner peace with his famous fellow novitiates. Besides the Beatles, their wives and girlfriends, there were other celebrities, including the Scottish folk-singer Donovan, Mike Love of The Beach Boys and actress Mia Farrow. And Saltzman caught much of the candid interaction with four cameras and a hand-held home movie cam lent to him by Ringo Starr. Insights are also contributed by executive producer and TM practitioner David Lynch, Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer Laurence Rosenthal and Indian musicians Hariprasad Chaurasia and Suresh Bhojwani.

 

"Saltzman’s gentle film documents his recent trip back to Rishikesh, with a stop in Liverpool and a detour to Hawaii. Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn is along for the ride. It’s a lovely look back – happy memories are revived and wrapped in garlands, set to a sitar-and-tabla soundtrack.

Beatles fans will dig the context behind the songs written during the Fab Four’s stay at the retreat. We even meet the man who inspired the White Album song The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill and learn the answer to the question 'Hey, Bungalow Bill, what did you kill?' "

- Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

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