The highly provocative film Kumare had its world premiere this week at Austin's SXSW Film Festival. The film was very well-received and created a lot of buzz, because of how it was made. Everyone was saying you must see Kumare and not surprisingly it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.
Kumare is fascinating, because it is somewhere between a documentary and a reality TV show. In the film Director Vikram Gandhi moves to Phoenix, AZ where he pretends to be a wise Indian guru and begins to recruit followers to his yoga sessions. He develops a group of followers and keeps the game going for months. Even though he is making it up, he finds that there are many people desperation for spiritual guidance that are easily convinced and willing to follow him. The film raises lots of questions about spirituality, human gullibility, and the role of spiritual leaders. He certainly shows how easy it is for those with ill intentions to build a cult-like following. The film crew took no money and Kumare attempted to teach a message of self-empowerment to his followers since he always intended to reveal himself to them. The content of the documentary was entertaining, provocative, and humorous. From an artistic point-of-view, the young documentary filmmakers should be commended for raising important questions about human nature and religion.
However, many in the audience seem deeply troubled by their methods of impersonating a guru and lying to people about whom they were and what their intentions. At times, the humor of the film was based on mocking the followers for how easily they were deceived by bogus chants and practices. It was also clear that many people told Kumare intimate details of their lives. While it seems that many of the participants benefited from his teachings of self-empowerment, some were clearly very angry at how they were deceived. While they didn't take money, they were using to advance their careers. There is something deeply exploitative in the way that they were deceived. Kumare raises a lot of interesting ethical questions that should be explored by those who are making documentary films. To put it simply, were the dishonest means that they used to achieve a worthwhile and interesting end appropriate?
A documentary about a man who impersonates a wise Indian Guru and builds a following in Arizona. At the height of his popularity, the Guru Kumaré must reveal his true identity to his disciples and unveil his greatest teaching of all.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
April 22, 2021 at 01:38 PM