March 28, 2023

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The Beatles and India: A documentary depicting a magical and mysterious journey

We’m not as lucky as Peter Jackson, “said Ajay Bose. Worship And distinguishes the recently released Disney + documentary from its own project, The Beatles in India.

“But we found many hours of scenes to use, we put them together not only in music, but in a story about the meeting of two cultures. Nowadays there is talk of cultural reservation, but for me it is not so because I think the Beatles’ interest in India seeks ancestral wisdom.

Born in India, he is a political writer and author of a fascinating book Across the universe: The Beatles in India (Penguin Books), the work that inspires the subsequent development of the documentary, is aware of the differences at the budget level between its initiative and the monument. To get back It has attracted Beatlemaniacs around the world in recent weeks.

But Ajay, in a way, points out that Fab Four’s relationship with Indian culture is one of the seeds of what we have seen. To get back. The famous trip to Rishikesh in February 1968 took place six months after the death of their manager Brian Epstein, who at that time defined the course of the band and the path each of them would follow.

Ajay Bose is the director of the documentary The Beatles in India

Call White album It was born out of search and openness, rebirth and garde blanch in every aspect in which the group of four immersed themselves while staying at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a character that was appreciated at the time, and then hated.

“That’s why they don’t mind making a record White album There is no organization and on the contrary expresses a liberation from that idea Sergeant pepper The Magical Mystery Travel”, Says Ajay. “Being in the jungle was different than anything they had ever experienced, it drove them away, it set them free, and since then many of their relationships have been broken. The seeds of its dissolution are found in that experience.”

According to the director, the moment the Beatles met Maharishi was ideal for maintaining their sanity, especially in the case of John Lennon.

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“John would have fallen even more after Epstein’s death, which would have been a terrible blow, perhaps if he had completely collapsed, especially if you had increased his drug use. But I think that trip to the Ashram was the end of a certain Beatles phase. , Like the scenes you see To get backEven in the end, when they were not talking and everything within them was tense, they played music together and made a wonderful one. It’s rare for a band to do that. They are unique because their music flourished there. ”

But that Indian tour that is most remembered by the fans was not the first. In 1966, as the band hurried out of an awkward and dangerous moment in the Philippines, the band reportedly stopped in Bangkok after the first lady, Imelda Marcos, was reportedly small, landed in New Delhi and secretly used the purchase of a sitar from hunting fans.

Although they did not have time to learn in detail about the country that had already fascinated George Harrison’s with his music, a year later, his then-wife, Grandma Boyd, encouraged him to meet in front of others in the quiet beetle. His comrades Al Maharishi gave a talk on Transcendental Meditation in August 1967 at the Hilton Hotel in London.

“George’s case was very special because his interest in Hindu wisdom was intense. He became a Hindu for some reason, ”explains Ajay. The guitarist’s restlessness infected others, and they were in a moment of exploration and openness brought about by psychedelic drugs.

“India and narcotics coincided at a time when we wanted to look beyond the ordinary, beyond the business culture. They lived in the West, but they were not satisfied with it, and they wanted their music to reflect that.

The Beatles are not alone. The first scenes of the so-called Raga Rock were stamped by The Kings nine months ago. Norwegian tree Lennon, with him Look at my friends, Brought in by Ray Davis in January 1965 after the band stopped in Bombay. Recorded by The Yardbirds Heart full of soul In June of the same year one of his first recordings with Jeff Beck and the Rolling Stones were carved Darken the paint On May 66.

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They all allowed themselves to be infiltrated, they were looking for something else and Indian philosophy led them to ask themselves the questions of who they are, where they are going and where they are going. But in the case of the Beatles, all that functioned as a special symbiosis between them and Indian culture and Indian music was used to inspire new things in their works, to record things upside down, and to use different Indian instruments. Tambura, tabla or sitar, which enriched and further complicated their music.

During the film’s developmental investigation, Harrison’s ex-wife, Grandma Boyd, gave Ajay an extensive and open interview – “I honestly admit I never spoke to any other journalist in my country” – which gave him a clearer understanding of the change. The mood of the man who once dedicated himself to him Something. It’s a different approach to life that will allow Boyd to fall into the hands of his colleague and friend Eric Clapton after a marriage crisis involving other women and Ringo Starr’s wife. , Maureen.

“After that trip, Grandma told me that George was fully involved in spirituality. After all, she had a wonderful photo of George in the guise of Jesus Christ. He seemed to have gone to another world. George was moving to another plane. You know its simplicity All things must pass This is an excellent record because he could never express himself well within the boundaries of the Beatles, and then he found a relief, he felt like a free man.

George Harrison, guitarist for The Beatles.

Harrison had his mind set on India, devoting an entire album to exploring the possibilities of dialogue between rock and those ancient rhythms, the soundtrack of the film Wonder wall, Which was directed by Joe Massad in 1968 and starred actress Jane Birkin.

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To Ajoy, the record reads “Love is an act, it was born because at that time he was so inspired by Indian music. You can feel the joy on George’s face when you look at the film. He saw that a British rock star was very comfortable there among musicians coming from completely different backgrounds. It shows that he has kept open.

From the Beatles, what job would you hold?

Critically, I would say Abe Road. But personally I am divided Revolver And this White album, Because the two are very different from their time. The revolver was tested on several levels and it marked a gap White album It’s not even an album, it’s a crazy collection of Beatles leaving, and they wrote it mostly in Rishikesh, they felt free and able to do what they wanted. Most of the bands would have stopped at the top of their star, but the Beatles wanted to continue experimenting beyond music, which was fantastic.

The Beatles and India have teamed up to win the Best Audience Audience Choice and Best Musical award at the UK Asian Film Festival 2021, which premiered this year. Songs inspired by The Beatles and India movie, Now available on streaming, where current artists from India reinterpret the classics from a quartet that changed their lives and changed the world. A hand fold proposed by the Beatles too.

Abe Road The Beatles Canon precisely ends with the phrase “The love you take is equal to the love you give”, which they cannot say without discovering themselves and the world through that journey.

Absolutely. I think this is a great line, they gave a lot of love to people and different cultures. I don’t think the Beatles have that iconic status not only for the musicians of their era, but for any other band. The beautiful words of the youth who are still inspired by it are evident in the film. D.