The Beatles and India
Many fans of the Fab Four know that the Beatles spent time in India in the late 1960s, seeking spiritual enlightenment, and for George Harrison in particular, seeking knowledge of the Indian music that he was fascinated by. This documentary tells the story of their time there which was spent primarily in Rishikesh at the ashram (religious retreat) of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation. The viewer will see rare footage of the Beatles at the ashram and very cool clips like John Lennon and Maharishi flying over the Himalayas in a helicopter and Harrison taking a sitar lesson from Ravi Shankar. The film explains how the Beatles looked to Maharishi for guidance after the death of their manager Brian Epstein, and there's lots of commentary from some of the folks who were there but very little from the Beatles themselves. Also seen briefly in the film are Mike Love of the Beach Boys, Donovan and Mia Farrow, and a bit of trivia is revealed about Mia's sister Prudence. Prudence tended to stick to herself and stay mostly in her room, inspiring the Beatles song "Dear Prudence" with its line "Won't you come out to play," which was written on the spot. Shots of the band's visit to the Ganges River, unpolluted at the time, are included and the film features lots of photos and footage that is previously-unseen. The whole search for spiritual enlightenment fell apart when Maharishi was accused of inappropriate behavior; the Beatles left India in sort of a huff and they regretted their actions later. The ashram eventually fell into disrepair and a tour of what it looks like today is disheartening. Available on Blu-ray, "The Beatles and India" (MVD Visual) runs 96 minutes.