The Beatles’ Indian Visit

(Above: Ringo Starr, John Lennon and Paul McCartney at the ashram in 1968. Photo courtesy of Paul Saltzman)

Meeting the Beatles in India, a documentary about writer-director Paul Saltzman’s week-long 1968 visit to an Indian ashram, premieres tomorrow, September 9, at 7 pm (all time zones) over gathr.com.

For a $12 ticket, you’ll also get a live Q&A with Saltzman following the film. The 82-minute doc will then be available sans Q&A starting this Friday, September 11, again for $12.

The then-23-year-old Saltzman must have been somewhat surprised when, arriving to learn Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, he found himself among John, Paul, George and Ringo, not to mention actress Mia Farrow, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, folksinger Donovan and the Beatles’ wives and girlfriends.

Luckily, Saltzman had his camera along, and while one of his photos (you can see it here) became rather iconic and he published a coffee-table book of them (The Beatles in Rishikesh) in 2000, more than 40 of them were “never included in any television or film account” until Meeting the Beatles in India.

The film also features:

Meeting the Beatles in India
  • The first-ever on-camera interview with “Bungalow Bill,” the subject of the Beatles song of that name, one of dozens of tunes they wrote at the ashram. You’ll hear Bill’s reaction to the lyrics “Hey Bungalow Bill, what did you kill, Bungalow Bill?”
  • A trip back to the ashram with Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn.
  • Saltzman’s identification of the actual spot at the ashram where Paul and John first sang “Dear Prudence” for Prudence Farrow, Mia’s sister.
  • A talk with George Harrison’s then-wife Pattie Boyd and then-sister-in-law Jenny Boyd, both of whom were in India with The Beatles.

Meeting the Beatles in India is narrated by Morgan Freeman, who also appeared in Saltzman’s 2008 documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi, about a historic integrated high school prom funded by Freeman, and in Saltzman’s 2012 doc The Last White Knight. In the latter, the filmmaker recalls his time as a civil rights worker in Mississippi when he was 21 and his 2007 attempt at reconciliation with the KKK member who assaulted him.

The Last White Knight is available to Amazon Prime and Sundance Now subscribers, or for $1.99 from Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and Vudu.

Prom Night in Mississippi isn’t available for streaming,

For more info on Meeting the Beatles in India, visit gathr.com/beatles.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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