National Post (Latest Edition)

Meet the Maharishi

Canadian doc tells the personal story of hanging with The Beatles in India

- Chris Knight National Post cknight@ postmedia. com Twitter. com/chrisknigh­tfilm

Meeting the Beatles in India Cast: Paul Saltzman, the Beatles Director: Paul Saltzman Duration: 1 h 22 m

In 1968, when Canadian filmmaker Paul Saltzman was 23, he — wait for it! — he met The Beatles.

In India. He’d gone to the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, hoping Transcende­ntal Meditation ( TM) could cure his broken heart, after his girlfriend had left him.

It worked. He learned TM, and he made four fab new friends, British musicians who happened to be there at the same time. He took photos of them.

Meeting the Beatles in India is Saltzman’s recollecti­ons of those salad days. It’s a personal documentar­y but also a problemati­c one. Morgan Freeman is listed as narrator but pops up only briefly, delivering the most clichéd narration. “India, home of Gandhi and non- violence,” that kind of thing.

The rest of time it’s Saltzman in voice- over, sometimes backed by animated re- enactments, and often resorting to long stretches of “then he said, and then I said ...”

The photos, capturing The Beatles at a high point in their creative lives but also relaxed and candid around their mild- mannered Canadian friend, are stunning.

But the rest of the 82- minute documentar­y sometimes feels like so much filler. Here’s David Lynch, discussing the benefits of TM.

Meet Rikki Cooke, whose interest in big-game hunting didn’t win him many friends at the ashram, although he did become the inspiratio­n for John Lennon’s song The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill. ( Presumably for licensing reasons, we never hear any actual Beatles music.)

The results are a touch helter- skelter, with just enough to hold the attention of Beatles fans. But some of Saltzman’s epiphanies are less impressive than he would have us believe. He remembers George Harrison telling him the Beatles had all the wealth they could want, but that it was no guarantee of joy or affection.

True, but the band had already released Can’t Buy Me Love four years earlier.

Me e ting the Beat - les in India opens Oct. 8 in Vancouver and can be st reamed through blueicedoc­s. com and hotdocs.ca. ΠΠ•

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