Ex­hi­bi­tion traces link­ages be­tween In­dia and The Bea­tles

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - INDIAUNSEEN - Pra­sun Son­walkar pra­sun.son­walkar@hin­dus­tan­times.com

LIVER­POOL: How much In­dia in­flu­enced The Bea­tles re­mains a mat­ter of de­bate, but some key de­tails and mem­o­ra­bilia of the iconic band’s as­so­ci­a­tion with In­dia – in­clud­ing mae­stro Ravi Shankar’s Shyama sitar – go on dis­play at its mu­seum from Thurs­day.

Called “Bea­tles in In­dia”, the ex­hi­bi­tion in the Al­bert Dock is de­scribed as ‘one-of-a- kind’ that ex­plores the ‘rel­a­tively se­cre­tive episode’ in the Bea­tles story. It in­cludes im­agery and per­sonal ac­counts of the band’s as­so­ciates, some of whom trav­elled to Rishikesh in Fe­bru­ary 1968.

Thurs­day marks 50 years since the band vis­ited In­dia at the in­vi­ta­tion of Ma­har­ishi Ma­hesh Yogi. Themed ar­eas in the ex­hi­bi­tion that runs for two years seek to recre­ate the colours, sounds and smells of Rishikesh.

The sitar Ravi Shankar used for prac­tice and com­po­si­tion work was sourced from Rikhi Ram, a pop­u­lar New Delhi-based store of mu­sic in­stru­ments, and has been loaned to The Bea­tles Story by the Ravi Shankar Foun­da­tion.

Ravi Shankar taught the sitar to Bea­tle Ge­orge Har­ri­son, who later helped pop­u­larise the use of In­dian in­stru­ments in the 1960s pop mu­sic. Har­ri­son, who be­lieved he had a spir­i­tual con­nec­tion with In­dia, do­nated land for a ma­jor Hindu tem­ple in Hert- ford­shire in 1973.

Pat­tie Boyd, for­mer wife of Har­ri­son, re­counted the 1968 visit to a group of vis­it­ing jour­nal­ists on Tues­day as a “spe­cial, mag­i­cal time”, and said it was not ap­par­ent then that the band would break up af­ter leav­ing In­dia. Jenny Boyd, her sis­ter and part of the 1968 group, who gave up mod­el­ing af­ter dis­cov­er­ing med­i­ta­tion dur­ing the visit, also shared her mem­o­ries. Pat­tie said: “They (the four Bea­tles) were all to­gether.”

HT PHOTO

Pat­tie Boyd, for­mer wife of Ge­orge Har­ri­son

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