Beatles in India: ‘They blew our minds with their long hair and jokes!’ | Beatles

In 1968, Paul Saltzman was a lost soul. The son of a Canadian TV weatherman, he was working as a sound engineer at the Canadian National Film Board in India when he received a “Dear John” letter from a woman he thought was She will become his wife. “I was devastated,” he says. Then someone on the staff said: ‘Have you tried meditation to break your heart?’

Saltzman went to see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – the founder of Extraordinary Meditation – lectures at the University of New Delhi. Enthusiastic about the promise of “internal renewal”, Saltzman then traveled to the International Academy of Meditation in Rishikesh. Due to the arrival of the Beatles, it was closed.

As Paul McCartney makes clear in the Beatles’ book Anthology, The Tired Group, coming to terms with the suicide of its manager, Brian Epstein, in August 1967, arrived in Rishikesh with his wives and girlfriends to study his teachings. “Find the answer”. Maharishi, with whom Paul, George and John first met in a lecture at the London Hilton. There was a feeling: ‘It’s great to be famous [and] Rich, “said McCartney,” but that’s all for the? ”

“I didn’t even know the Beatles were in India,” says Saltzaman. “I waited outside for eight days and then I was taken to a small room where I was taught transcendental meditation. Did the pain go away?” [of the breakup] Was happy

Saltzaman is now 78 years old, and his new film, Meeting the Beatles in India, Is one of two upcoming documentaries on the subject. With Morgan Freeman’s statement and the collaboration of director David Lynch and Beatles biographer Mark Lewsohn, it is vast and grand, but at its heart is the story of Saltzaman himself.

He is a charming company and has a good deal of innocence in telling his story, his face is ready to laugh or cry openly – these are the two things he does during our conversation. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl.

Paul, John and Ringo's jam.
Paul, John and Ringo’s jam. Photo: All rights reserved / Paul Saltzaman

“It simply came to our notice then. “I think that’s what they immediately raised: ‘This guy doesn’t want anything from us.’

Saltzaman arrived at the ashram with some supplies. One of them was a Pentax camera. “I spent a week with him,” he says. “I never thought of asking for an autograph, and I only took my camera twice.” “

The pictures he took during this week of meditation are remarkable. Forgotten for almost 30 years, then in the late 90’s when his daughter accidentally asked about the “time to meet the Beatles”, he told John, Paul, George and Ringo to visit the monastery guests Donovan, Mike Liu. Show hanging with off batch. The boys, jazz florists Paul Horn, Mia Freo and her sister, are smart, unorganized and in a very relaxed state, rehearsing new songs or just staring from a distance.

“I didn’t even think about the quality of the pictures,” says Saltzman. Then I took them to Steven McCook, curator of rock memoirs at Sotby, and he said: ‘These are the Beatles’ best intimate shots. There are things we’ve never seen before. “

The group returned to London with 30 new songs, most of which ended on the 1968 White album. But soon the band fell into the toxic pattern of nightmares, drug use and conflict. Show photos of Saltzaman – with fast focus and deep eye contact – to four friends in a state of rare, late carefree contentment.

When you tell the story of Saltzaman, “you can tell the story of the Beatles in so many different ways.” “I have always felt that the Indian part of the Beatles story is bigger than Rishikesh.”

Bose movie, Beatles and IndiaIn July 1966, George embarked on a short trip to Delhi, befriended George’s star Verchosu Ravi Shankar, and recorded it. When Harp took the star on the help set, ever since, a long saga map: a three-year journey. Wonderwall music with classical Indian musicians at HMV Bombay Studios.

Ring with salt salt.
Ring with salt salt. Photograph: Copyright Larry Curland / Paul Saltzman. All rights reserved

“To me, this is not a story about the Maharishi,” says Bose. “When George was the de facto leader of the group, these were four working-class girls from Liverpool who went deep into Indian culture.” Some went deeper than others. Disturbed by the spicy food, Ringo arrived with a suitcase full of tons of baked beans to keep it.

Parallel to this story, Bose’s film tells such an interesting story of how and why India fell in love with the Beatles. Bose says, “I discovered them when I was about 12 or 13 years old.” I was from the English-speaking Bengali middle class, which included Alice Presley, Jim Reeves and Doris Day, and Joe Natural. PG Woodhouse was our laughing stock, and that’s why I think there was an immediate connection with the Beatles: Wisdom.

“But my father was a bureaucrat who started with the British Raj.” “The problem with the Beatles was that they didn’t behave ‘like the British’ – people with stiff heads, short hair and not letting their emotions get in the way.” His long hair and jokes really blew our minds.

Instead of including the Beatles’ relationship with India in a cultural context, Bose insists it was close to a cultural exchange. He says, “There is osmosis on both sides.” And look at the contradiction. The Beatles were tired of the West’s search for commercial capitalist culture and spiritual tranquility, but we saw them as interesting symbols of modern culture.

Bose’s film traces former members of the Beatles-influenced Indian “Beat” groups such as Savage and Jets, but goes beyond music to see the political impact of the Beatles’ presence in India, including the KGB. The spy’s response is also included. Maharishi’s Ashram.

'In a way, the Beatles never left India'; George and Patty Harrison wore necklaces while other members of the band were watching.
‘In a way, the Beatles never left India’; George and Patty Harrison wore necklaces while other members of the band were watching. Photographer: Colin Harrison / Avico

Bose says, “I went back to the Indian press in 1968, and discovered that communist and socialist Indian politicians were saying that Rishikesh was a CIA camp. Bezmanov was sent to Rishikesh to find out what was going on. Bose’s discovery turned out to be one of the best moments of the film, a clip of Bezmanov about “Mia Faro and other useful Hollywood idiots” in the late 1980s. I was happy to talk about coming back to the United States. Navel and nothing else. “

“Maharishi was not on the GB’s salary, but whether he knew it or not, it played a huge role in trampling on American society,” Bizminov laughed.

“It’s a great clip, but I think it’s Rishikesh,” says Bose Was Massively important for a number of reasons. India gave the Beatles a philosophical status. India strengthened them, India helped them. In a way, the Beatles never left India. George’s ashes were scattered on the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. The Beatles Fan Club is still thriving in India.

What does the Beatles mean to the new generation of Indians? Bose says: “The Cowboys have changed our world, our reality over the last 16 months. Everyone is feeling very weak and tired, and I think the Beatles still have a very basic sense of romance. Reconnects with a sense of happiness and a sense of innocence.

Saltzaman has some invaluable vacation photos left. What memory has he retained so far this week? He immediately responds: “My first 30 minutes of meditation. It’s great to meet the Beatles, but it was secondary to the change in my inner life.

The Beatles & India (Mr. Ejoye Bose, Peter Compton) concludes the UK Asian Film Festival at BFI on 6 June. The Beatles can be seen in the meeting with India (Paul Saltzman, 2020)


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