The Beatles And India, a feature-length documentary chronicling the Fab Four’s visit to the country and its cultural legacy, will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in the US on 21 June.
Directed by Ajoy Bose and Peter Compton, The Beatles And India is assembled from a wealth of archive materials, including unseen footage shot on 35mm, that present the Beatles’ relationship with India from an Indian perspective.
It was one of the pop-cultural events of the ‘60s, ushering in an experimental era for the Beatles in which they sought spiritual enlightenment and looked beyond western music for new ways to augment their sound.
The film joins the Fab Four in February 1968 as they headed to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram at Rishikesh, a remote locale in the foothills of the Himalayas, and discusses the impact of the band's visit on the country. It was there where much of The White Album came together, with tracks such as Dear Prudence, Mother Nature’s Son and Sexy Sadie among the tracks written in Rishikesh.
There are interviews with the Raghu Rai, who was the first to photograph the Beatles inside the ashram, and with Rustom Captain, the helicopter who flew John Lennon and the Maharishi across the Ganges, and this being the late ‘60s, it would not be complete without a Cold War connection, and the film investigates the story of the ashram’s infiltration by the CIA and KGB.
The film draws upon Bose’s 2018 book, Across The Universe – The Beatles In India. Bose grew up in Calcutta and was a self-confessed Beatlemaniac whose love of the band brought him into conflict with his father. The archive footage is mixed with newly shot footage, retracing the steps of their visit to Mumbai, New Delhi, Dehradun and Rishikesh.
The film is accompanied by an album of Beatles songs reworked by Benji Merrison and performed by Indian artists Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi Shankar), Vishal Dadlani, Kissnuka, Benny Dayal, Dhruv Ghanekar, Karsh Kale and Soulmate. The Beatles and India (Songs Inspired by the Film) is available through Silva Screen Records.
The Beatles And India is film is now available to pre-order on Region 1/NTSC Blu-ray/DVD formats. It is presently streaming on various streaming platforms, including the Prime Video BritBox channel. The UK Blu-ray/DVD was released in January.