A new film about a fascinating chapter in the lives of one of the greatest bands in the world is about the conjunction rather than the preposition.
The Beatles and India isn’t just about the time spent by the John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr and their partners and friends in Rishikesh in 1968. Rather, the documentary aims to provide a wider understanding of the band’s engagement with India and the impact their music had on Indians.
Directed by Ajoy Bose and co-directed by Pete Compton, The Beatles and India expands on the research and interviews featured in Bose’s 2018 book Across the Universe. The film retraces the steps leading up to the stay at the ashram run by the spiritual leader Mahesh Yogi in 1968. These include George Harrison’s friendship with sitar legend Ravi Shankar and his interest in Hindustani music and Hinduism.
Among those sharing memories and insights is Pattie Boyd, Harrison’s wife at the time. Boyd accompanied Harrison on his first trip to India in 1966 and the later one with his bandmates in early 1968.
Bose met Boyd in London while working on his book. “I must have been the billionth person to talk to her [about The Beatles in India] but she says I was…