Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Kumare": A filmmaker performs a social experiment by "becoming" a guru


It’s probably fair to say that all your own spiritual truths can be found within yourself.  A pastor or a guru is only a guide.  And he doesn’t have to be academically qualified or licensed or anything else.  He just has to be able to manipulate you.

That’s what filmmaker Vikran Ghandi, or Indian parentage but raised in New Jersey, proved, when he grew his beard, put on some robes, and started a gentle little “cult” in the Phoenix area.

Eventually, he would “come out” to his converts and let him know this was a social experiment.  And, guess what, most of them stayed loyal to him.

That’s the subtext of the autobiographical film “Kumare”, the name that Vikran took on for himself.
    
Kumare is quite affectionate with his students, sometimes with some mild homoeroticism. In one scene, a companion gives him a body rub with a rotating buff brush (the kind they use to buff floors in Army barracks).

Before his big announcement, he plays “Samson” and, with a bit of ritual, shaves his beard and cuts his hair down to a normal businessman’s appearance.

The movie mentions the "Urantia" book, which I have somewhere.  I cannot explain its theology in detail, but it has a full history of all major religious figures. 

The official site is here


The film appeared at SXSW in Austin, Texas and is distributed by Kino and IFC.

I saw the film at the West End Cinema in Washington DC before a surprisingly good weeknight crowd.  There were only two shows per day.

For today’s short film, I want to suggest  “The Punishment”, a 22-minute film about “ragging” (extreme "college hazing) in India, from Blue Ocean Films, YouTube link here

I have discussed the international controversy in Middle East of the amateur online film “Innocence of Muslims” on my International Issues Blog (postings yesterday and today).  

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