Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

Monday, August 23, 2021

Friday, June 4, 2021

The Beatles in/and India: A look at two documentaries

Andrew Male in The Guardian writes about Paul Saltzman's "Meeting the Beatles in India," released last year and the upcoming documentary "The Beatles and India," directed by author Ajoy Bose.

"Rishikesh was massively important for so many reasons. India gave the Beatles a philosophical state of mind; India matured them, India helped them become individuals. In a way, the Beatles never left India. George’s ashes were scattered on the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. The Beatles fan club is still growing in India.”

Friday, May 28, 2021

New "The Beatles and India" film and tie-in album - hear the first single

"The Beatles and India" (not to be confused with the recent "Meeting the Beatles in India") is a new documentary based on the book by Ajoy Bose, author of  "Across The Universe – The Beatles In India," that documents the Fabs' time studying Transcendental Meditation at the Maharish Mahesh Yogi's ashram in Rishikesh.

The film premieres June 6 as part of the Tongues On Fire UK Asian Film Festival ahead of a full release this fall and is accompanied by a tie-in album, The Beatles and India: Songs Inspired by the Film that features a roster of Indian artists performing songs by the Beatles, including solo tracks such as John Lennon's "India, India," which is the first single of the LP in a version by Nikhil D’Souza.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

"Meeting the Beatles in India" documentary premieres Sept. 9 - watch the trailer

A documentary by photographer Paul Saltzman, who visited the Beatles during their stay at Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in India in 1968, is set to debut next month.


With new and vivid first-hand details and over 40 personal photos never-before-seen in any other movie about The Beatles, Emmy Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman shares an extraordinary life experience in a new feature documentary, Meeting the Beatles in India. Gathr Films has set Wednesday, September 9th for the virtual World Premiere with a Live Filmmaker Q&A directly following on its Gathr At Home™ platform. The film will then be available virtually through art house film platforms around the world. Trailer Launch HERE.

Saltzman learned transcendental meditation while spending a week in 1968 at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh on the banks of the Ganges River along with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. Photos and recollections not revisited for 50 years are brought to life. Narrated by Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman with executive producers including Pen Densham and David Lynch, Meeting the Beatles in India adds vital details and context to one of the seminal cultural events of the 20th Century.

In 1968 Paul Saltzman, then 23-years-old, traveled to India to heal his broken heart. There he discovered his own soul, learned Transcendental Meditation ™ (which changed his life) and hung out with John, Paul, George and Ringo. Among the other seekers at the ashram were actress Mia Farrow, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, folksinger Donovan and the Beatles’ wives and girlfriends.

In Meeting the Beatles in India, Saltzman provides a trove of new information and additional context:

  • Includes over 40 of Saltzman’s photos from the ashram never included in any television or film account of The Beatles’ time in India.
  • Gives the back story on how his iconic group photo of the Beatles, the Maharishi and their celebrity friends at the ashram (used in the film’s poster) actually happened.
  • Gives Saltzman’s first-hand account of The Beatles songwriting process. Experts estimate between 30 to 48 songs were written during this period with many included on the White Album. The list includes: Back in the USSR, Happiness is a Warm Gun, Dear Prudence, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La Da, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Birthday, Sexy Sadie, Don’t Pass Me By, Mother Nature’s Son, Helter Skelter, Revolution and Bungalow Bill, among many others.
  • Finds the real “Bungalow Bill” in Hawaii for his first ever on-camera interview during which he talks about his reaction to the infamous lyrics “Hey Bungalow Bill, what did you kill, Bungalow Bill.”
  • Shows the actual spot at the ashram where Paul and John first sang Dear Prudence for one of their group, Prudence Farrow, sister of Mia Farrow, who was most devoted to her daily much so that the group worried for her well-being.
  • Gives further context to the estrangement that occurred between The Beatles and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and led to the band’s abrupt departure from the ashram.
  • Reflects on filmmaker David Lynch’ own inner journey and the link between TM and creative output. In 2005, he founded the David Lynch Foundation Center for Health and Wellness to ensure that children around the world have access to TM.
  • Adds color to this most prolific time in the Beatles’ creative lives during a visit back to the ashram, now dubbed The Beatles Ashram, with noted Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn.
  • Visits the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool to talk to George Harrison’s ex-wife Pattie Boyd and ex-sister-in-law Jenny Boyd, both of whom were in India with The Beatles in 1968.
  • Guided by his vivid and riveting personal memories, Saltzman shares his own magical mystery tour of one of the most important and influential cultural events of the 20th Century and reveals how vital the exploration of one’s own inner self is, not only for artists of all generations, but for all of us.
  • According to Stephen Maycock, a world-renowned music memorabilia expert who headed Sotheby’s Rock ‘n’ Roll division for 13 years and was consultant to Bonhams for 16 years, “Paul’s [Saltzman] photos are some of the very best we have of The Beatles."
“In 1968, at the age of 23 and reeling from the pain of a lost love, I travelled to India, learned meditation, hung out with the Beatles for a week at an ashram on the banks of the Ganges river, and captured that experience in photographs,” recalls Saltzman. “Three decades later, I found the photographs in my basement, and now I am honored to share this magical episode of my life with audiences around the world.”

How Saltzman came to share the magical mystery tour in India with The Beatles and other celebrities is hard to believe but completely true. An inner voice drove him to make the pilgrimage to India and to eventually stand outside the gates of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh. At first rebuffed, he camped outside the ashram’s gates for eight days before being allowed in to learn transcendental meditation.

His first encounter with The Beatles was as momentous to his future life as it was casual. He came upon a table on the ashram’s grounds at which sat The Beatles and their party. Met with a generosity of spirit and great humor, Saltzman was drawn into the Beatles orbit for a week and his recollections of them as well as the life-changing practice of Transcendental Meditation were to shape the rest of his life. One conversation with George Harrison was particularly insightful, according to Saltzman. “George said ‘Like, we’re The Beatles after all, aren’t we? We have all the money you could ever dream of. We have all the fame you could ever wish for. But it isn’t love. It isn’t health. It isn’t peace inside, is it?’”

On another occasion, it was John Lennon’s words about the enduring power of love that comforted the 23-year-old’s recently heartbroken heart. “The really great thing about love is you always get another chance,” Lennon told him. A few weeks later he would make his love affair with Yoko Ono public for the first time.

Oscar-winning filmmaker David Lynch, who is among the Executive Producers on Meeting the Beatles in India, started his David Lynch Foundation to promote the healing and restorative power of TM to change and heal lives.

“I started my practice of Transcendental Meditation in 1973,” says Lynch, “but I had no idea how powerful and profound this technique could be until I saw firsthand how it was being practiced by young children in inner-city schools, veterans who suffer the living hell of post-traumatic stress and women and girls who are victims of terrible violence. TM is, in a word, life-changing for the good. In 2005, we started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so. Now, the Foundation is actively teaching TM to adults and children in countries everywhere.”

Many have noted, including Lynch, the connective tissue between the practice of Transcendental Mediation and creativity. That certainly was the case with the Beatles during their time in India. As Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn says in the film, “They had nothing else to do at the ashram besides mediate and write music.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Rare photos from George's first trip to India up for auction

Six rare photos from George Harrison's first trip to India in 1966 are up for bid via Omega Auctions, the Daily Mail reports.

The pictures include a shot of George, his wife Pattie Boyd Harrison, and sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar and friends seated on some ruins. Also up for sale is an orange quilted jacket that George acquired on the trip.

Here's a look at the photos:

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Pattie Boyd on introducing the Beatles to meditation

Read a recent interview with Pattie here:

I had already visited India and had found it incredibly spiritual and moving. I was keen to take up meditation and saw an advert for TM classes at Caxton Hall in London. A friend and I duly went along and, over a long weekend, we were initiated and given our mantras. I loved it and found that it worked for me on a number of levels—I felt “energized”, so I told George (Harrison) all about it at the earliest opportunity. He was interested and agreed to come along to see the Maharishi in London in August 1967. In fact, all four Beatles came along.

... I believe that George may have started work on Something whilst there and probably his songs which appeared on The White Album later in 1968. In its embryonic stages, While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a slower song with just George on his acoustic. I clearly remember Dear Prudence being sung by the boys to Prudence Farrow to try and entice her from her room at the ashram.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jenny Boyd remembers the Beatles' India trip

Jenny Boyd, sister of George Harrison's former wife, Pattie, recalls her trip to Indian in 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation.

What are your favourite memories of the trip?

They include sitting in the early morning sun on the roof of our bungalow with Pattie and Cynthia while we listened to George, Paul and John sharing their latest songs. Another memory is sitting in the freezing cold River Ganges with some fellow meditators, happy and playful. I remember one day when everyone from the ashram, including Maharishi, walked down to the Ganges while George, Paul and John, looking like minstrels, sang and played their guitars. We all sat together on the sand, singing to the music.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Beatles Bits: Weekly news update

An exhibit opening Feb. 16 at Liverpool's Beatles Story attraction will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band's visit to India to study Transcendental Meditation.

A sitar used by the legendary Ravi Shankar will go onto display within the new immersive area, loaned to The Beatles Story by the Ravi Shankar Foundation.
 The exhibit will also include photography from Paul Saltzman, a sound engineer for the National Film Board of Canada at the time, who photographed The Beatles during their stay. 

...Pattie Boyd, former wife to George Harrison, and her sister Jenny Boyd, who were amongst the star-studded list of attendees in India, will be providing their personal insight into the time. 


Meanwhile, in the actual India, an anniversary yoga fest will take place on the grounds of the ashram where the Beatles studies TM with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi back in 1968.

The three-day The Beatles Festival from March 5 will be held at Chaurasi Kutiya, once the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and now turned into a tourist spot by the government. Rock bands and other musicians are expected to perform at the festival.

It has been decided that the entry fee at the International Yoga Festival, the annual event of the state government from March 1 to 7, will be reduced to Rs 300 from Rs 600 for foreigners and to Rs 100 from Rs 150 for Indians during the three days of The Beatles event.


Paul McCartney is backing a proposed law to protect music venues from closure.

According to Sky, alongside Sir Paul other musicians to back the proposed legislature include Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Craig David, Ray Davies, Billy Bragg, Chrissie Hynde, Sandie Shaw and Feargal Sharkey.

In a statement, Sir Paul said: “Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different.”

...“If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.”

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Original artwork from George Harrison and Paul McCartney, Rishikesh, India, 1968

Heritage Auctions has listed artworks created by George Harrison and Paul McCartney created during the Beatles' retreat to India in 1968.

By George Harrison

By Paul McCartney

Thursday, November 24, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly November 1966

The Beatles' official magazine for November 1966 continues to update fans on the group's post-touring, pre-Sgt. Pepper activities.

There's details on John Lennon's role in "How I Won the War," along with George and Pattie Harrison's trip to India:

And an interview with Paul McCartney, in which he discusses the different track listings on the band's American releases …

… his views on the future and touring ...

and his thoughts on songwriting and why the band didn't record portions of Revolver in Memphis, as originally planned:

The news page, meanwhile, includes items about Paul's soundtrack for "The Family Way, " (referred to by a different title) and shows "She Said, She Said," coming in last in a poll of readers' favorite Revolver songs …

… among other items:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

History: Beatles Book Monthly October 1966

The October 1966 of the Beatles' official fan magazine catches the group following their post-"Bigger than Jesus" tour of the United States, when all members were taking a break and plotting their next moves. Not surprisingly, the mag puts a bright spin on the whole Jesus controversy.

The big news is John cutting his hair to appear in Richard Lester's "How I Won the War" film. There's also interview with George about songwriting and a nice photo of Ringo, with wife Maureen and son Zak, at home. Not much to report regarding Paul, this month.

Beatle road managers Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall and driver Alf Bicknell