Filmmaker Vikram Gandhi on Gurus, Yoga, and His New Comedy ''Kumaré: The True Story of a False Prophet'
If you've ever sought out spiritual enlightenment or been dragged to a hot yoga studio where some guy in his underwear is chanting what sounds to be the Eastern version of Do-Re-Mi, then you've probably asked yourself some of the same questions as New York-based filmmaker, Vikram Gandhi.
Vikram Gandhi's first feature length documentary, Kumaré, explores spiritual authenticity of self-proclaimed prophets, in a social experiment he calls "The Spiritual Placebo Effect." The film centers around an enlightened guru named Sri Kumaré who comes to Phoenix and establishes a base of devoted followers, students of his spiritual teachings.
The movie, which has been released in select theaters around the country, will be premiering at Harkins Valley Art Theater tonight. Jacaklope Ranch was able to connect with Vikram earlier this week to ask him a few questions about the film, and what he wants people will take away from it.Why Phoenix?
You know I just wanted to go some place where I didn't know anyone ... And I was looking for a place where yoga and spirituality were popular and some place that felt very American at the same time.
How have people been reacting to this film, especially those in the various spiritual communities that you explore?
It's overwhelmingly positive. I think it's people who are in the film, you know because there are other gurus in it, have been less than excited but that's going to happen with any documentary on any subject.
And I think for those who have seen the film, of the people who were close to Kumaré, ultimately everyone is giving me a positive reaction, but not everyone has seen the film. Overwhelmingly the community that has been most supportive of this film has been the yoga community, people who have been interested in spirituality, people who have had gurus, people who've had experiences looking for answers
And most of those people and a lot of that world has come to me after the release of the movie saying that they were happy that someone made a film and addressed a lot of the questions that they had and a lot of the doubts that they had experienced in their own lives.