A new documentary film called The Beatles and India explores the Fab Four’s relationship with the Asian country. Fans will know the band and their music was influenced in a number of ways by India, in particular George Harrison. And now in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, director Ajoy Bose has shared how John Lennon took to India and what he was hoping to get out of staying there in the late 1960s.
Ajoy said: “The four Beatles were completely different people. John was the most restless of them all. The most tormented by his inner demons.
“The sort of person who was constantly seeking something which would give him a higher plane of consciousness.
“And I think that to him, India as India meant not very much.”
The director said how Lennon had a hug jar of hard drugs with him but was searching for something transcendent and satisfying beyond the other side of a high.
Ajoy continued: “Each high was followed by a not particularly nice feeling. He was looking for something else.
“And when the Maharishi came along with this mantra, I think John really latched onto that.”
The Beatles had met the Indian guru in Wales at one of his seminars on Transcendental Mediation and John would practice the repeated utterances.
The director said: “For John, I think it was one of the many experiences he had and his relationship with Yoko Ono was also part of this seeking some kind of Eastern mysticism. I mean Yoko brought that as well in his life.”
Ajoy shared how India was a place beyond the Western philosophy and culture Lennon had grown up with and was offering something else.
Having found fame and fortune in the West, The Beatles were looking for deeper meaning beyond materialism and drug use.
The director said: “It’s also the decade because I think the sixties was the decade of young people searching for something more; something beyond the mundane consumerist life. I think Indian spiritual things like a mantra, The Beatles found them very exotic.
“I think they also wanted to slow down their pace because they lived such hectic lives that just the stillness of India was something that attracted them. And also the complexity of a new philosophy and I think particularly for George Harrison.”
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The Beatles and India’s synopsis reads: “Rare archival footage, recordings and photographs, eye-witness accounts and expert comments along with location shoots across India, bring alive the fascinating journey of George, John, Paul and Ringo from their high octane celebrity lives in the West to a remote Himalayan ashram in search of spiritual bliss that inspires an unprecedented burst of creative songwriting.
“It is the first serious exploration of how India shaped the development of the greatest ever rock band and their own pioneering role bridging two vastly different cultures.”
Alongside The Beatles and India’s release will be a companion album that will include interpretations of Beatles songs by contemporary Indian artists.
The Beatles and India is out now on digital download and a DVD/Blu-ray release will follow on October 29.